Two VT Guard Soldiers Die In Gunbattle In Afghanistan

08/24/10 5:16PM By Ross Sneyd

AP Photo/Vermont National Guard
Spc. Tristan Southworth, 21, of Walden Vt.

(Host) Vermont National Guard troops were involved in a fierce firefight with insurgents over the weekend, and two of them were killed.

Guard Commander Michael Dubie describes what happened on Sunday morning.

(Dubie) "There was an operation to advance in an area of known insurgents. The patrol was made up of two platoons of Vermont soldiers out of Jericho and Afghan border police. And they came under attack from a quite large number of insurgents. And that's where both our Vermonters were killed at that time."

(Host) One of the soldiers was from Walden. Sergeant Tristan Southworth was 21 and joined the National Guard four years ago. His parents and two younger brothers also live in Walden.

AP/VT National Guard
Sergeant Steven Deluzio
The other soldier was Sergeant Steven Deluzio, who was 25. He was from South Glastonbury, Connecticut, but served with the Vermont National Guard. Deluzio also attended Norwich University in Northfield.

His brother is also serving in Afghanistan with the Connecticut National Guard.

General Dubie visited with Southworth's family in Walden yesterday.

Southworth graduated from Hazen Union High School in 2007. Teachers and coaches say he was an outstanding student and athlete.

Hazen principal Elaine Laine says the school is making plans to remember Southworth when the students return for a new year on Monday.

Some of his former classmates are still students, and the school will make counselors available for students as needed. Laine says teachers are working through grief as well:

(Laine) "For the teachers, it's devastating because we're such a small community, we know students and it's very somber. We're doing in-services right now, it's the first week back for teachers, and it's difficult for them."

(Host) General Dubie says he'll travel to Connecticut tomorrow Wednesday to meet with Sergeant Deluzio's family.

Another Vermont soldier was wounded in Sunday's attack. Dubie says he can't release that soldier's name or hometown.

But he is expected to return to service in Afghanistan soon.

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vermont_national_guard afghanistan politics
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