Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

AFA graduate killed in Iraq

By: CARLYN RAY MITCHELL
September 9, 2009
0

An airman who graduated at the top of his 2007 Air Force Academy class was killed Tuesday in Iraq, the Department of Defense announced Wednesday.

First Lt. Joseph D. Helton, 24, of Monroe, Ga., was killed near Baghdad by an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

A 2003 graduate of Monroe Area Comprehensive High School, Helton was a star student and soccer player who had more than $1 million in scholarship offers before settling on the academy, according to an e-mail from retired Col. Larry Hoff posted on a Georgia outdoor news forum. Hoff could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Helton graduated from the academy in the top 10 percent of his class and received honors in leadership, academics and athletics, Hoff said in the e-mail. After graduation, Helton chose to join Air Force Security Forces.

He was sent to train Iraqi police in southern Baghdad and had recently extended his tour, Hoff said.

“I heard from Joseph this past week on how he was enjoying his new assignment,” Hoff wrote in the e-mail.

Helton is the 11th Air Force Academy graduate to die in Iraq.

“Joseph’s ultimate sacrifice is a tremendous loss to the United States Air Force Academy family. He touched the lives of many people — cadets, Airmen, friends and family — and he will have a lasting effect on them all,” the academy’s superintendent, Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, said in a statement.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.