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Barstow soldier killed in attack blamed on Afghan soldier

By in Press Enterprise on June 12, 2017

By Staff and news service reports

A Barstow man was one of three U.S. soldiers who died Saturday, June 10 from gunshot wounds suffered in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday.

Army Sgt. William M. Bays, 29, was killed in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, along with Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore and Cpl. Dillon C. Baldridge, 22 of Youngsville, North Carolina. A fourth soldier was wounded.

The statement did not provide details about what led to the deaths, saying only that the incident was under investigation.

An Afghan official said the deaths and injury stem from an attack by an Afghan soldier, who also died.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that a Taliban loyalist had infiltrated the Afghan army “just to attack foreign forces.”

The U.S. soldiers killed were 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. They were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the Department of Defense statement said.

Staff writer Brian Rokos and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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