New York soldier killed in Afghanistan blast

New York soldier killed in Afghanistan blast

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Five soldiers, including one from western New York, died in a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan over the weekend, the Department of Defense announced.

Staff Sgt. Francis G. Phillips IV, 28, of Meridian, N.Y., was riding in an armored vehicle with several other soldiers in Maiwand on May 4, 2013, when an improvised explosive device detonated, the military said.

He and 1st Lt. Brandon J. Landrum, 26, of Lawton, Okla.; Spc. Kevin Cardoza, 19, of Mercedes, Texas; Spc. Thomas P. Murach, 22, of Meridian, Idaho; and Spc. Brandon J. Prescott, 24, of Bend, Ore., were killed, the Pentagon said.

They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, based out of Fort Bliss, Texas. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on May 10 in Phillips' honor.

"Along with all New Yorkers, I mourn the death of Staff Sgt. Phillips and I extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to his friends, family and fellow soldiers," Cuomo said. "We will honor his sacrifice and his dedication to our great nation."

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