Friday, October 20, 2006

Edgerton native killed in Iraq combat

An Edgerton, Kan., native was killed by enemy fire Sunday in Iraq, the Defense Department said Tuesday.

Pfc. Shane R. Austin, 19, was part of the Army’s 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armor Division, based in Baumholder, Germany. He died in Ramadi.

Austin’s father, Terry Austin, said his son was killed when an insurgent threw a grenade into his son’s tank. Shane Austin had been in Iraq a few months and was scheduled to come home with the rest of his unit next month.

“My son was a very proud soldier,” Terry Austin said. “He’s a hero in Edgerton today.”

Shane Austin was the middle of three brothers and had made private first class about a week ago, his father said Tuesday.

Austin attended school in the Gardner Edgerton district from elementary school through 2005. His mother and a brother went to the school Monday and told the staff of Austin’s death, Deputy Superintendent Tim Yoho told The Associated Press.

“Our prayers are with the family,” Yoho said. “It’s a horrible thing, and it brings us back to reality when it’s one of your own who is killed.”

A candlelight vigil will be held this weekend in Edgerton,but plans are not complete. Terry Austin said he wants his son to be buried at Fort Leavenworth.