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Late Mokena soldier honored in Colorado

PamelToppen mother  U.S. Army Pfc. AarToppen holds an American flag graveside funeral service for her sSt. John's Cemetery Tuesday

Pamela Toppen, the mother of U.S. Army Pfc. Aaron Toppen, holds an American flag at the graveside funeral service for her son at St. John's Cemetery Tuesday in Mokena. The 19-year-old soldier who was killed in Afghanistan was laid to rest after hundreds

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Updated: July 28, 2014 12:58PM



FORT CARSON, Colo. — Commanders and soldiers gathered Thursday at Fort Carson 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 Pfc. 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.

The 19-year-old Toppen, from Mokena, was buried Tuesday at St. John’s Cemetery in the village following funeral services at Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park. He was a 2013 graduate of Lincoln-Way East High School.

Toppen deployed overseas in March, staying behind for the funeral of his father, Ronald, who died in February.

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



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