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Family Grieves Death Of Son Killed In Aghanistan
Updated August 5, 2017 10:16 AM
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(COLUMBUS) - A Columbus East High School graduate was one of two soldiers killed during a suicide bombing in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Jonathon Hunter was a 2011 graduate of Columbus East, where he played on the football team. The 23 year old was just 32 days into his first deployment.

His father, Mark Hunter, talked with our news-gathering partners at RTV6 about his son's loving heart.

His father released the following statement: Our family is deeply saddened and distressed to learn of the death of our very much loved one.

Jonathon not only was loved by his immediately family but by his extended family and community.

Our hearts are aching for Jonathon as well as for his brother in arms who died with him and those who were injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all during this hour of grief.

Our heartfelt love goes out to his wife, Whitney Michelle Hunter, and his devoted mother, Kimberly Thompson.

Sgt. Jonathon Michael Hunter served with the Army in the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82 Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

Jonathon was intelligent and one of the sweetest, most generous, outgoing,
God-loving people we know. We are so appreciative of the outpouring of community support; their stories and love helps us get through this tragedy.

Jonathon loved his unit and serving his country and was excited about the opportunity to go to Afghanistan to do his part in fighting injustice.

Jonathon, always interested in family history, was touched by how his great-great-great-great uncle, John Copeland, had made a difference in this country and he wanted to do the same. Copeland fought courageously with John Brown at Harper's Ferry to secure the freedom of slaves prior to the Civil War. His action was one that initiated the war just 18 months later.

Jonathon comes from an exceedingly long history of committed and loyal family members - men and women - who have fought in the military since the Revolutionary War.

I know Jonathon would want us to get rid of the hate and division in this world, and that's why he did his part to make peace.

Despite our pain, we could not be prouder of him!

Gov. Eric Holcomb released a statement saying:

Words will never convey the sorrow that Janet and I feel for the loss of Sgt. Jonathon Michael Hunter, an Army sergeant and Columbus, Indiana native killed in a NATO convoy attack in Afghanistan. We offer our prayers for his family and friends and ask all Hoosiers to honor his selfless service to our country.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly said:

I am saddened to hear that Columbus native, Jonathon Michael Hunter, has been killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. His service and sacrifice in defense of our country will never be forgotten. My prayers and condolences go to his family, friends, fellow soldiers, and the entire Columbus community.

U.S. Rep. Luke Messer said:

Sergeant Jonathon Hunter is a true American hero, and our entire nation grieves this loss. My thoughts and prayers are with Sergeant Hunter's family, friends and the entire Columbus community. Sergeant Hunter gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country. His bravery and legacy will live on.

Columbus East High School's administrators issued a statement.

The Columbus East High School Community is sad to hear of the passing of one of its own. We were made aware that Jonathon Michael Hunter was killed in military action in Afghanistan. Jonathon was a 2011 graduate of Columbus East High School, and a member of the football team. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Hunter family, friends, the Columbus East community, and the BCSC community during this difficult time.

This is the second Columbus East graduate that has given his life for his country while serving in Afghanistan. In 2010 Jeremy McQueary was killed while conducting searches for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDS). He was 27.

Columbus East High School & The Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation are proud of the commitment and dedication of these two young men in service to their country.

The Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC) family is mourning the loss of one of our own... Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Hunter family, friends, and the BCSC community during this difficult time. We express our deep appreciation for all who have served, and continue to serve, in the military in order to protect the rights and freedoms we are blessed to have.

The commander of the 1st Brigade Combat team, Col. Toby Magsig, said that the unit also lost 25-year-old Specialist Christopher M. Harris of Jackson Springs, N.C., in the attack.

"The entire Devil Brigade is deeply saddened by the loss of two beloved team members... Sgt. Jonathon Hunter was the leader we all want to work for - strong, decisive, compassionate, and courageous. He was revered by his Paratroopers and respected throughout his unit. Chris and Jon lived and died as warriors. They will always be a part of the legacy of the Devil Brigade and their memory lives on in the hearts and minds of their fellow Paratroopers. Our thoughts and prayers are centered on the families and loved ones of these two great Americans."

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