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Local soldier injured in Afghanistan

August 4, 2012
By Stephen Anderson and the Associated Press ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

DOLLAR BAY - Four Michigan Army National Guard soldiers were wounded, including one from Dollar Bay, and one was killed when a bomb exploded while they were on foot patrol in Afghanistan Friday, the military told the Associated Press.

Spec. Steven Nelson, 26, of Dollar Bay, was injured when an Improvised Explosive Device detonated near Salim Aka, according to the Michigan National Guard.

His family could not be reached for comment Friday night.

Spec. Kyle McClain, 25, from Shelby Township in suburban Detroit was killed in the explosion, and he is the first Michigan National Guard member killed in action since 2003.

Staff Sgt. Robert Drebenstedt, 29, of Charlevoix; Spec. William Barnett, 24, of Ypsilanti; and Pvt. Joshua Colon, 20, of Grand Rapids were also injured along with Nelson.

"It's not a common thing but it has happened before," Staff Sgt. Jason Boyd, a Michigan National Guard spokesman, said of the number of soldiers.

On Feb. 26, five members of the Guard were injured by an explosive in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan. They survived.

Boyd said the engineers' job is to check routes for possible explosives.

He didn't know why they were on foot patrol.

"We mainly use vehicles that will detect the possibility of IEDs," he said. "They don't look under rocks. They look for wires sticking out of the ground and other warning signs. There may be disturbed concrete. There may be disturbed soil that wasn't there the day before."



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