West Columbia paratrooper dies in Afghanistan

04/02/2014 5:43 PM

04/04/2014 9:29 AM

A U.S. Army paratrooper from West Columbia has died in Afghanistan.

The cause of the death of Capt. James Edward “Ed” Chaffin, an artillery officer with the 82nd Airborne Division, is being reported by the Department of Defense as a non-combat related incident. It is under investigation.

Chaffin died Monday in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to the military.

He is the 48th service member with ties to South Carolina that has died in the Southwest Asian country since the war began after Sept. 11, 2001. Another 64 service members with ties to South Carolina have been killed in Iraq.

Chaffin, 27, was a 2005 graduate of Brookland-Cayce High School. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment, stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“We have suffered a great loss in the 3-319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment and express our deepest condolences,” Lt. Col. Phillip G. Jenison, Chaffin’s battalion commander, said in a press release from Fort Bragg. “Capt. Edward Chaffin was an exceptional officer and absolutely value added to our team. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We will never forget him.”

Chaffin was commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 2009 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Upon completion of the Basic Officer Leaders Course, he attended the Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader course at Fort Sill, Okla., according to the press release.

He arrived to Fort Bragg on June 12, 2010, and deployed to Iraq with the unit in May 2011. He transferred to 1st BCT in August 2013.

“Capt. Chaffin was a great officer with an outstanding work ethic,” said Lt. Col. Paul L. Larson, commander of 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team. “Our deepest condolences and prayers are with the Chaffin family during this time.”

Chaffin’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Basic Parachutist Badge and Air Assault Badge.

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