Pa. flags to be flown at half-staff to honor Beaver County native killed in Afghanistan

Pa. flags to be flown at half-staff to honor Beaver County native killed in Afghanistan

HOPEWELL, Pa. — A Beaver County native was one of three American service members killed by a roadside bomb on Tuesday in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense confirmed Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin, 25, was one of three U.S. service members killed in the explosion outside Ghazni. The Talban claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Three other American service members and an American contractor were injured, the DOD said.

An armored personnel carrier hit the bomb in the Shahbaz neighborhood near Ghazni, a city of more than 250,000 people in central Afghanistan. It was the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in a nearly 18 months.


Elchin, who grew up in Hookstown, joined the Air Force’s Special Operations unit after graduating from Hopewell High School in 2012.

He had earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, among other commendations.

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The Beaver Area School District superintendent remembered him as “a young man with a kind heart who was studious, curious about life and loved his family.”

"As his middle school principal, I remember him being a friendly and reserved student," Dr. Carrie Rowe said in a statement. "In middle school, he played in the band and enjoyed learning to design and make things in the wood and metal shop."

Elchin, a special tactics combat controller, was assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, based at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. He deployed to Afghanistan in August.

"Dylan had an unusual drive to succeed and contribute to the team. He displayed maturity and stoicism beyond his years, and was always level-headed, no matter the situation," said Lt. Col. Gregory Walsh, commander of the 26th Special Tactics Squadron. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dylan's family, fiancee and friends. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten."

Elchin is survived by his mother and his fiancee.

The two other service members killed were Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, 29, of Lexington, Virginia, and Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, 39, of Brush Prairie, Washington, the DOD said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all commonwealth flags throughout Pennsylvania to be lowered to half-staff until Elchin's burial.