You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Illinois soldier among 5 killed in friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan

Jun. 10, 2014 - 08:30PM   |  
  • Filed Under

CHICAGO — A soldier from northern Illinois who went to Afghanistan a month after his father died was among five American troops killed this week during a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan, a friend of the family said Tuesday.

Jennie Swartz, who is serving as a family spokeswoman, told The Associated Press from the family’s Mokena home about 30 miles southwest of Chicago that representatives from the U.S. Army came to Pam Toppen’s door in the middle of the night with news that her 19-year-old son, Aaron Toppen, had been killed Monday.

Toppen’s sister, Amanda Gralewski, told the Chicago Sun-Times her brother had joined the Army after graduating from Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort. He was set to leave in February for Afghanistan, but after their father died that month, he waited until March to deploy.

Now, she said, the family is suffering a “double hit” of grief.

Gralewski said her brother was a “funny, caring, living kid” who enjoyed being outdoors and spending time with his friends and family.

“He would give the shirt off his back for anyone,” she said.

The five American special operations troops were killed by a U.S. airstrike called in to help them after they were ambushed by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.

A Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said the five American troops were killed Monday “during a security operation in southern Afghanistan” and said that investigators “are looking into the likelihood that friendly fire was the cause.”

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook