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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pennsylvania Soldier Killed In Afghanistan Tuesday


June 4, 2008 . Pennsylvania
Soldier Killed In Action
Back to 2008

HARRISBURG – A Pennsylvania Army National Guard soldier was killed in action early Tuesday afternoon near the town of Zormat, Afghanistan.

Spc. Derek Holland, 20, Wind Gap, of Alpha Company, 228th Brigade Support Battalion, Bethlehem, died when an improvised explosive device struck his Humvee. Holland was serving as security for the Gardez Provincial Reconstruction Team. The team operates in Paktia Province helping Afghanistan build its infrastructure for essential services.

An Air Force major serving with the Provincial Reconstruction Team was also killed in the attack. The gunner for the vehicle, also a Pennsylvania National Guard soldier, was injured and evacuated to Landstuhl, Germany.

Holland was a 2006 graduate of Pen Argyl High School and enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard during his senior year.

“Derek was an energetic young man who was admired by his fellow Soldiers for his work ethic and devotion to duty,” said Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright, Pennsylvania adjutant general. “This is a tragic loss and we keep his family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

“He was one of the most dedicated soldiers I have known,” said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Horner, Holland’s supervisor with Alpha Company. “He just wanted to do his part in serving his county. He wanted to do the job he came in to do.”

More than 700 Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers are currently providing security for Provincial Reconstruction Teams located throughout Afghanistan. The soldiers are scheduled to return in December.

Thirty-two Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers have been killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. Holland is the fifth Pennsylvania National Guard soldier to lose his life in Afghanistan.

Holland will be posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge.

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