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House approves bill to rename Pennsylvania post office after airman killed in Afghanistan

Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin was killed when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, Nov. 27, 2018. The House has approved a bill to designate a post office in Hookstown, Pa., after Elchin.

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By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 17, 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan — A post office in western Pennsylvania is on track to be renamed after an airman who was killed in Afghanistan last year.

The House on Wednesday approved a bill to designate the Hookstown facility as the Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin Post Office Building.

The bill must now be approved by the Senate and President Donald Trump for the renaming to be official.

Elchin and two other American servicemembers were killed in November by a roadside bomb in Ghazni province, in an attack claimed by the Taliban.

“Staff Sergeant Elchin served our country valiantly,” said Rep. Conor Lamb, a Marine veteran, who teared up as he introduced the bill on the House floor. “At his funeral last year, we heard how throughout all the difficult conditions that Staff Sergeant Elchin experienced in Afghanistan, he was always cheerful, always enthusiastic and always someone who inspired his fellow airmen no matter what.”

Elchin was a combat controller assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Combat controllers work with Army Special Forces teams and are among the Air Force’s elite, trained in air traffic control, parachuting, diving and rappelling.

The 25-year-old was on his first deployment and was planning to marry his fiancee when he returned to the United States.

Hookstown, where Elchin grew up, is about 35 miles west of Pittsburgh, near the borders of Ohio and West Virginia.

The post office would become the latest to be renamed after a fallen servicemember.

In May, a post office in North Kingston, R.I,, was named in honor of Army Capt. Matthew J. August, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Khalidiyah, Iraq in 2004. In April, a post office in Orange, Calif., was renamed after Army Spc. Trevor A. Win’E, who was killed when his convoy came under attack in Tikrit, Iraq, in 2004.

Lamb told the House that renaming the Hookstown post office would help locals remember Elchin.

“We’re proud of Dylan, we thank him for his service and sacrifice,” Lamb said. “We honor him and we will never forget.”

wellman.phillip@stripes.com
Twitter: @pwwellman
 

Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin was killed when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, Nov. 27, 2018. The House has approved a bill to designate a post office in Hookstown, Pa., after Elchin.
COURTESY PHOTO

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