WICHITA (FoxKansas.com) -- A Wichita family is mourning the loss of a hometown soldier who was killed this week when his unit came under fire from enemy forces in Afghanistan, defense officials said.
Spc. James R. Burnett Jr., 21, was killed on Nov. 16 along with Pfc. Matthew C. Collin, 22, of Navarre, Fla., when the Jeep he was riding in was struck by an explosive device, family members and the U.S. Defense Department said in a written statement. Both soldiers were part of the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Burnett was a 2009 graduate of Clearwater High School in Wichita and he joined the U.S. Army after serving a stint in the Reserves. According to reports, he had been serving in Afghanistan since April, 2011.
"He always went out of his way for everybody," his mother, Rebecca Metcalf, told KWCH-TV. "When anyone needed anything he was there for them."
Burnett celebrated a birthday in September and had recently gotten engaged to a woman who lives in Wichita. Funeral arrangements were pending.
FoxKansas.com Staff Writer Alfred Charles contributed to this report. He can be reached at email@example.com.