Local News

Bragg soldier killed in Afghanistan

Posted October 4, 2009 12:57 p.m. EDT
Updated October 4, 2009 10:11 p.m. EDT

— A paratrooper was killed when enemy forces attacked his patrol in Afghanistan's Wardak province Friday afternoon, the military announced Sunday.

Pfc. Brandon Andre Owens, 21, of Memphis, Tenn., and other American soldiers were taking a break during a joint patrol with Afghan police and soldiers when the attack occurred. Owens was wounded by small arms fire, the military said.

He and a comrade – Sgt. Aaron M. Smith, 25, of Manhattan, Kan., who was assigned to the 10th Mount Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. – were also killed.

Owens was assigned to the 118th Military Police Company, 503rd Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps.

"Pfc. Owens was an excellent soldier who was very motivated, disciplined and competent," said his platoon leader, Sgt. 1st Class David Cathers. "Pfc. Owens had the ability to life the spirits of everyone he came in contact with and always had a smile on his face."

Owens joined the Army on April 24, 2008, and underwent basic and advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he graduated as a 31B – Military Policeman. He completed Basic Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., and was then stationed at Fort Bragg. He deployed to Afghanistan in May.

His awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Parachutist Badge and Combat Action Badge.

A memorial service for Owens will be held at Fort Bragg on Thursday. A memorial will also be conducted in Afghanistan.