Michigan soldier slain during combat in Afghanistan

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A 25-year-old Michigan Army National Guard soldier from suburban Detroit has been killed and four others from the state have been injured during combat operations in Afghanistan.

The Defense Department says Sgt. Kyle McClain of Shelby Township was instantly killed Wednesday when an improvised explosive device detonated near Salim Aka, Afghanistan. He was promoted to sergeant posthumously.

"He didn't like the university," said Alex Wargo, McClain's cousin. "He didn't like school. So I supported him, I figured he'd take care of himself, he'd be alright."

Wargo received a devastating call from McClain's wife, Lisa, early Thursday morning. "She said, 'Kyle's not coming home from Afghanistan. I just got a visit from two uniformed men,'" remembered Wargo.

Four other members of the Augusta, Mich.-based 1433rd Engineer Company were "seriously injured" while on the same foot patrol.

The injured soldiers include 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Robert Drebenstedt of Charlevoix, 24-year-old Spec. William Barnett of Ypsilanti, Spec. 26-year-old Steven Nelson of Dollar Bay and 20-year-old Pvt. Joshua Colon of Grand Rapids.

Military officials say the injured soldiers were transported to military medical facilities at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

McClain is the 21st Michigan National Guardsman killed in action since 2003.

Print this article Back to Top