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Army Pfc. Alan J. Austin

Died August 12, 2007 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

21, of Houston; assigned to the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Aug. 12 near Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained in a non-combat-related accident.

3 Texas soldiers die in Afghanistan, Iraq

The Associated Press

HOUSTON — Three Texas soldiers have died overseas in recent days, the Defense Department said Monday.

Pfc. Alan J. Austin, 21, and Pfc. William L. Edwards, 23, were both from Houston, and Sgt. Charles B. Kitowski III, 31, was from the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch, the military said.

Kitowski was one of three soldiers who died Sunday in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. He was assigned to the 345th Psychological Operations Company, 2nd Psychological Operations Group, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“Charles died doing what he felt duty bound to do. Please remember his life, his happy memories, his favorite expressions or advice he ever offered,” his family said in a statement.

Also killed with Kitowski were Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey D. Kettle, 31, of Madill, Okla., and Staff Sgt. Jesse G. Clowers Jr., 27, of Herndon, Va. They were both part of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg.

Joel Kettle, Kettle’s uncle, said military service runs in the family, and that his nephew was on his fourth tour of duty overseas. Jeffrey Kettle’s parents, Ronald and Cindy, live in Saudi Arabia, where Ronald Kettle works for a chemical company, Joel Kettle said.

Jeffrey Kettle loved the outdoors and would hunt squirrels when he visited his uncle.

“He was a fun-loving kid growing up,” said Joel Kettle, adding that his nephew grew up in Texas City, Texas. “It really surprised me and made me feel proud when he joined the Army and excelled.”

Austin died Sunday of injuries sustained in a non-combat accident in Afghanistan, the department said. Austin was assigned to the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.

His mother, Rhonda Austin, said her son loved cooking, dancing, parades and mariachi music, and was a devoted son and brother.

“Alan was a courageous man of God. My comfort lies in my faith and knowing that he is with God,” she said in a statement.

Edwards died Saturday in Arab Jabour, Iraq, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire, the Pentagon said. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart, Ga.

Kitowski also had connections to Houston, where he attended St. Thomas High School and the University of St. Thomas. He joined the Army two years ago after obtaining his college degree, according to the Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command at Fort Bragg.

Born in Gulfport, Miss., Kitowski worked in the finance department at Southwest Airlines in Dallas before deploying to Afghanistan. He earned serveral military awards, including the Marksmanship Qualification Badge and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, command officials said.

Kitowski is survived by his parents, Chuck and Theresa Kitowski, of Katy.

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