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Army Sgt. Dean R. Shaffer

Died April 19, 2012 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

23, of Pekin, Ill.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii; died April 19 in Divalak, Helmand province, Afghanistan, when his Black Hawk (UH-60) crashed. Also killed were Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nicholas S. Johnson, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Don C. Viray and Spc. Chris J. Workman.

Thousands honor soldier who died in Afghanistan

The Associated Press

PEKIN, Ill. - Thousands have gathered to honor a central Illinois soldier killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

The Pekin Daily Times reports the funeral procession for 23-year-old Army Sgt. Dean Shaffer passed through the city on Monday. Gov. Pat Quinn attended the funeral. The 6 1/2-mile long route was lined with people, including students from Pekin Community High School.

Shaffer and three other soldiers died in the April 19 crash. All were members of the 2nd Battalion, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade based at Schofield Barracks. The brigade is part of the 25th Infantry Division.

They were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed in bad weather during a night flight in Afghanistan on Thursday.

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