A member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade was killed in action Saturday, the first “Sky Soldier” to die since the unit recently deployed to Afghanistan.

Pfc. Jacob Lowell, a 22-year-old from New Lenox, Ill., was identified by several media outlets Monday. The Department of Defense had yet to release his identity as of 5 p.m. Central European Time on Tuesday.

Maj. Ryan Dillon, public affairs officer for the Southern European Task Force (Airborne), said he couldn’t comment or provide information until the notice was posted on the DOD’s Web site.

Seventeen soldiers from the brigade and a total of 18 from SETAF, both based in Vicenza, Italy, were killed during a previous deployment to Afghanistan in 2005-06. Nine soldiers from the brigade died in a deployment to Iraq in 2003-04. All of their names are inscribed on a monument at Caserma Ederle.

Lowell’s parents, Raymond and Bernadine Lowell, were informed of his death Saturday, according to reports by several media outlets in Illinois. According to a report in The Chicago Tribune, Lowell had been in the country for only two weeks.

“He was a great son,” Raymond Lowell was reported as saying. “We are very proud of him. He did what he wanted to do.”

Lowell was a 2003 graduate of Lincoln Way Central High School and on the school’s football team, according to the Tribune.

In addition to his parents, Lowell is survived by a sister, Jennifer, and a brother, Joseph, according to a report by The Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Ill. Funeral arrangements in Illinois are pending.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for 40 years.

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