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Knightsville soldier killed in Afghanistan grenade attack

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Arronn D. Fields
KNIGHTSVILLE -- For the second time in two years, Clay County is mourning the loss of one of its own.

According to reports, Spc. Arronn D. Fields, Knightsville, died Monday after sustaining injuries during a rocket grenade attack in Qal-ah-ye Mirza Jal, Afghanistan, while on a mounted patrol.

Spc. Fields, 27, had deployed in February with the 381st Military Police Company, 81st Troop Command, as part of Task Force Guardian, a multi-unit military police force from Indiana.

Spc. Fields enlisted in the Indiana National Guard in 2006. He graduated from Northview High School in 2003.

According to reports, Spc. Fields had also served one tour in Iraq.

"He spoke to his mother Monday morning at 8," Spc. Fields' father, Bill Pilkin, said. "And she spoke to him a few hours before he passed away."

According to Spc. Fields' Facebook page, he was born Nov. 27, 1984. He enjoyed fishing, working on "hot rods," spending time with family and friends and hunting.

He and his family attended church at the Brazil Church of the Nazarene.

"He was real quiet, kind of to himself type of kid who never got in trouble," church pastor Gary Bechtel told The Brazil Times. "He liked to fish. He loved to fish. When he came to church, he always talked to me about fishing. He attended church regularly as a young man."

Spc. Fields' father, Bill Pilkin, echoed those sentiments Tuesday.

"We'd fish (locally)," Pilkin said. "It was a time for him and I to reflect on life. We spent just about every spring and summer in the evening fishing. He was a good fisherman."

Bechtel said he received word regarding Spc. Fields from his family late Monday evening.

"They got the call about 11:30 p.m. Monday," he said. "They called me at about midnight.

"It's shock. When you first hear that kind of information, you're just shocked. You just don't believe it happened. That's kind of where we are still at with it. We are all devastated."

Nazarene church member Sam Glover also remembered Spc. Fields.

"He was a nice young man," Glover said. "He attended church with his family. His parents were real active in church.

"This is a tough loss for our community. He's definitely a hero. It's amazing our community has been touched twice by this."

In February 2010, Marine Cpl. Greg Stultz was killed in action as a result of injuries sustained while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Air Force Lt. Jared Freeman attended elementary school with Spc. Fields. They both graduated the same year at Northview.

On Tuesday, Lt. Freeman told The Times he had been in contact with Spc. Fields recently via Facebook.

"I know he was starting to get into refurbishing (vehicles)," Lt. Freeman said.

Pilkin said his son was in the process of restoring a 1969 Mustang and a 1973 Plymouth Challenger.

"He just loved old cars," Pilkin said. "Muscle cars. He never took a class in it. He'd just go ask mechanics. It was just trial and error."

Pilkin said when the family receives word, it will travel to Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Del., to retrieve Spc. Fields' body.

"It's going to be rough on the family," Pilkin said. "But I believed he died doing something he wanted to do. He wanted to be there. He's a hero."

According to reports, Spc. Fields is the 23rd Indiana Guardsman to die since 2001.

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