Bomb kills Aiken soldier in Afghanistan

Harley

AIKEN --- A local National Guard soldier was killed Friday in Afghanistan when the truck in which he was a passenger was damaged by an improvised explosive device.

Staff Sgt. Willie James Harley, 48, was with the 1221st Engineering Company based in Graniteville and Batesburg, according to Buz Yarnell, a Fort Gordon spokesman.

About 100 men in the company deployed to Afghanistan in July.

At least one other man, Spc. Luther Rabon, 32, of Lexington County, S.C., was also killed in the attack, according to Col. Peter J. Brooks, a spokesman for the South Carolina National Guard.

"Specialist Rabon and Staff Sgt. Harley were serving their country with honor and pride," Maj. Gen. Stanhope S. Spears, the Adjutant General for South Carolina, said in a news release. "The South Carolina National Guard has lost two more members of our family. My thoughts and prayers go out to their families and friends."

Harley is survived by five children, all of whom live in the area, Yarnell said.

Harley's family said Monday afternoon they did not wish to comment on his death.

Flags flew at half staff at the Army National Guard office on Bettis Academy Road on Monday as members of the battalion's Family Readiness Group discussed plans for an honor guard at each funeral.

Group members said plans should be finalized by Thursday.

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