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Army Staff Sgt. Joshua A. Melton

Died June 19, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

26, of Carlyle, Ill.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, Illinois National Guard, Marion, Ill.; died June 19 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Sgt. Paul G. Smith.

Ill. soldier killed months before tour was to end

The Associated Press

GERMANTOWN, Ill. — The brother of a southern Illinois soldier killed in Afghanistan says his sibling was expected to return home in September to his wife and 16-month-old daughter.

Twenty-six-year-old Staff Sgt. Joshua Melton was from Germantown in Clinton County. He died along with 43-year-old Sgt. Paul Smith of East Peoria on Friday.

The Illinois National Guard says their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Kandahar.

Melton enlisted in the National Guard in 2000 while still in high school in Breese.

Dustin Melton says his late brother knew from the time he was a boy that he wanted to be a soldier.

Joshua Melton's widow, Larissa Melton, says her husband died as something he always wanted to be — a hero.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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