Family members are remembering a 19-year-old Illinois soldier who was among five Americans killed this week in Afghanistan as a classy young man who dreamed of a career in the military or law enforcement.
A Pentagon spokesman says the five soldiers were killed Monday during a security operation in southern Afghanistan.
Family members identified one of the soldiers on Tuesday as Aaron Toppen. His uncle, Jack Winter, tells The Associated Press that Toppen, a recent high school graduate, was set to leave for Afghanistan in February but his father died that month. He was deployed in March.
Winter says the family is heartbroken. He spoke from the family home in Mokena, which is about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.