Brandon Buttry, a 19-year-old soldier from Shenandoah, Iowa, died in the dangerous Kandahar Province of Afghanistan, the Defense Department confirmed Tuesday.
The defense department provided no other details of Buttry's death. Buttry was killed while manning a watchtower, said family members in a story published in Tuesday's World-Herald.
Kandahar Province, located in southeast Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, has long been known as the epicenter of the insurgent movement. The Taliban came to power in and around the city of Kandahar and claimed it as their capital city even as they fought north and took control of Kabul during the Afghan Civil War of the 1990s.
Since the post-9/11 invasion by the U.S.-backed coalition, Taliban fighters and related insurgents — mostly notably foot soldiers in the notorious Haqqani network — have often attacked coalition troops stationed in southeast Afghanistan, then disappeared across the Pakistani border.
Buttry, one of 14 biological and adopted children of Don and Pam Buttry, joined the U.S. Army in January and deployed in August.
Relatives and family friends remembered him Monday as a happy and well-liked teenager. He cheered for the Philadelphia Eagles even though the rest of his family liked the Minnesota Vikings. He attended church on Sundays with his family. They took up so many of the pews in one area of Memorial Baptist Church that Pastor Mike Brogan and other parishioners nicknamed it the Buttry Corner.
“All my children liked him,” the Baptist pastor said of Brandon Buttry on Monday. “I don't know anyone who didn't like him.”
Family members planned to meet his flag-draped casket at Dover Air Force Base this afternoon.
No date has been set for his funeral, which is expected to be in Shenandoah.
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