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Fort Carson honors 2 killed in friendly fire

Published: Thursday, June 26, 2014 3:20 p.m. CDT
(AP Photo/Courtesy of Parkview Christian Church,Scott Josephs)
Pamela Toppen, the mother of U.S. Army Pvt. Aaron Toppen, holds an American flag at the graveside funeral service for her son at St. Johns Cemetery Tuesday June 24, 2014, in Mokina, Ill. The 19-year-old soldier from suburban Chicago who was killed in Afghanistan was laid to rest Tuesday after hundreds of mourners attended his funeral. Toppen was one of five American service members killed this month when a U.S. airstrike was called to help defend against a Taliban ambush.

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Commanders and soldiers gathered at Fort Carson on Thursday to honor two soldiers who were killed in one of the deadliest friendly fire incidents in Afghanistan.

The memorial service for Cpl. Justin Clouse and Pvc. Aaron Toppen, both members of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, included a 21-gun salute and bagpipes playing "Amazing Grace."

They were killed with three other soldiers in an American airstrike on June 9. It was called in after their unit was ambushed by the Taliban.

Clouse was 22 and from the tiny town of Sprague, Washington. He enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from high school and was on his second tour in Afghanistan.

Toppen was 19 and from Mokena, Illinois outside Chicago. He deployed in March after staying behind for his father's funeral.

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