Soldier from Troy killed in Afghanistan

A 2007 Troy High School graduate was killed last week while serving in Afghanistan.

Army Private First Class Jeffrey L. Rice, 24, of Troy, died in Kandahar, Afghanistan Thursday, the Department of Defense announced Sunday.

Rice was part of the the 584th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade stationed out of Fort Hood, Texas since February 2009 and was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom at the time of his death.

Rice entered active duty service in October 2008 as a combat engineer, according to Fort Hood officials.

Rice deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from January 2010 to January 2011. His 2012 deployment began in February.

Circumstances surrounding his death are currently under investigation, Fort Hood officials said in a release Monday.

Rice also attended Piqua Joint Vocational School, now the Upper Valley Career Center, for his junior and senior year, according to Troy City Schools Superintendent Eric Herman.

Herman said Rice was in the welding program and played football while in high school.

“I remember him just being real quiet,” Herman said.

Alan Wuebker was Rice’s welding teacher for those two years and remembered him as an attentive, respectful and hardworking student.

“Jeff was an awesome student,” Wuebker said. “He always talked about serving his country. It was his lifetime goal to do that.”

Wuebker said Rice actually earned a scholarship to continue studying welding, but enlisted instead. He said Rice hoped to further his welding career while serving in the Army.

Rice’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and NATO Medal.

His family reportedly travelled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Sunday where Rice’s remains were transferred along with the bodies of two fellow soldiers also killed in Afghanistan last week, Army Spc. Darrion T. Hicks of Raleigh, N.C. and Marine Cpl. Joshua R. Ashley of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

The 20th Engineer Battalion, nickname “Lumberjack”, provides combat engineering support, according to the Fort Hood webpage.

Information on funeral services is pending.