Glendale soldier killed as he prepared to return home

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Pfc. Dustin Feldhaus was a star wrestler at Deer Valley High School in north Phoenix before joining the Army. He became a marksman in the 101st Airborne Division.

Feldhaus and five fellow soldiers were killed this week during a combat mission to clear insurgents from an area in Eastern Afghanistan. Details of the operation will not be released until it is complete, according to Army officials.

"It was small arms fire," said Feldhaus' aunt, Deborah Feldhaus.

The family received a call from the Army saying Feldhaus had been hit and was in critical condition on Monday. Hours later they learned he had died from his injuries.

"He was in good spirits and excited to go back," Feldhaus said. "He really felt like he was making a difference."

"He was a small guy who left big shoes to fill," said close friend Karl Kohler, of Phoenix.

Feldhaus was due to return home to Arizona later this month. Instead his parents have flown to Dover, Del., to receive his body.

Maj. Gen. John Campbell, the commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division, said this has been their deadliest combat year since Vietnam.