RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A soldier from Youngsville was one of three killed in an attack by an Afghan soldier in eastern Afghanistan on June 10, according to the U.S. Department of Defense and the Associated Press.
Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge, 22, was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Company D, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky, according to a Department of Defense release.
Baldridge’s family was proud of his service, but knew it could come with a price.
“There was always that possibility, which we were all well aware of, and accepted that fact, although you don’t want to,” said his brother, Zach Palmer.
Palmer remembers Baldridge as optimistic and always ready for a good laugh.
“Just the goofiest kid ever. He had his quirks and I don’t know, I just remember always laughing,” he said.
Even neighbors from his childhood home in Youngsville remember Baldridge, and were upset by the news about his death.
“It’s sad to see a child when they get killed like that. But to see a young boy like that, it’s just sad,” said Brenda Marie Worthan.
Franklinton High School, from which Baldridge graduated in 2012, had flags at half-staff in his honor.
Palmer is planning to enlist in the Air Force. He talked about his intentions with Baldridge in one of their last face-to-face conversations.
“He told me to go for it and that he’d have my back,” Palmer recalled.
The Associated Press reported over the weekend that three U.S. soldiers were killed when an Afghan soldier opened fire on them. Another soldier was wounded and the attacker was killed.
A spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar province, Attahullah Khogyani, says the attack took place in the Peka Valley in the Nangarhar Province.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says in a statement that a Taliban loyalist had infiltrated the Afghan army “just to attack foreign forces.”
The DOD identified the other two soldiers as Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore, Maryland and Sgt. William M. Bays, 29 of Barstow, California. Both men were assigned to the same headquarters as Baldridge.
Click here to access a GoFundMe page created for Baldridge’s family.