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Soldier From Elkhart, Ind. Killed In Helicopter Crash In Afghanistan

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Mike Parker Mike Parker
Mike Parker has been a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago...
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ELKHART, Ind. (CBS) – An Elkhart Indiana soldier has been identified as one of six GI’s killed in a single incident in Afghanistan Tuesday. CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.

Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Lee Williams was 30 years old. He was on his third deployment to a U.S. combat zone when he died in a Blackhawk helicopter crash earlier this week.

His mother, Debbie Passerallo says, “As a mother you’re never prepared for this but you think this can’t happen to my kid.”

The chopper was on a daytime mission in Southern Afghanistan when it was forced to make a crash landing. Six soldiers, including Sgt. Williams were killed. The cause remains unclear. By the time a rescue force arrived, they found just one survivor. The death toll was the worst single day loss in Afghanistan in six months.

Williams’ mother spoke Wednesday in Elkhart alongside her son’s six year old daughter, Madison.

“This little one right here,” Passerallo said, “this is the center of his universe. He did everything he could for her.

Passerallo recalls Father’s Day this year, as her son left Elkhart for what would be his last trip into harm’s way.

“This deployment was different. He knew it. The goodbye was more muted. The tears were there. They weren’t there on the other deployments.”

2300 American soldiers have died in action since the Afghan war began a dozen years ago.

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