DENVER (AP) — Two Army paratroopers who were killed in an attack on their base in Afghanistan are being described as outstanding leaders who set a good example for the soldiers around them.
The Department of Defense says 25-year-old Staff Sgt. Jordan L. Bear of Denver and 19-year-old Pfc. Payton A. Jones, of Marble Falls, Texas, died Thursday in the Zhari district of southern Kandahar province. U.S. and Afghan officials say the men were killed on a joint U.S.-Afghan base by two Afghan soldiers and an Afghan civilian literacy instructor who fired from a sentry tower.
Both were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, N.C.
"Staff Sgt. Bear set the example for all the squad leaders in his platoon," said Capt. Cecil Wolberton, commander of the men's company. "He was a phenomenal leader and beloved by the men he led."
Meanwhile, Wolberton said he remembers Jones' first day in the unit and described him as "an outstanding soldier."
"Over the past year, I've had the privilege of watching him develop as a paratrooper," the captain said.
Jones, who joined the Army in July 2010 and was on his first deployment, is survived by his mother and his father. Bear, who has been in the Army since September 2004 and was on his third deployment to Afghanistan, is survived by his wife, his 4-year-old daughter and his 2-month-old son.
His mother, Cathleen Bear, told the Denver Post that Army officials say he was shot while trying and lift a wounded soldier who had fallen next to him.
"He once told me that all he wanted was a wife and a son and that he probably would never have that because he would die while serving," she said.