Mexico soldier killed in Afghanistan; third Mainer to die this month

Posted Nov. 30, 2010, at 11:31 a.m.
Buddy McLain in Facebook photo
Buddy McLain in Facebook photo

AUGUSTA, Maine — For the third time in November, a Mainer has died while on duty in Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.

Army Pvt. Buddy McLain, 24, of Mexico was killed by enemy fire Monday, according to the governor’s office. McLain was a cavalry scout with the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.

McLain’s wife and son live in Peru and his parents live in Mexico, said David Farmer, spokesman for Gov. John Baldacci.

“Private McLain died serving his country. He has earned the lasting gratitude of his state and nation. We will honor him for the hero that he is,” Baldacci said in a statement. “During this tragic time, we all should keep his family and friends in our prayers.”

One of three brothers, McLain graduated from Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, school officials said.

When McLain entered high school, he didn’t like to read, said Bob Fulton, a special education teacher at Mountain Valley. By the time he graduated in 2006, McLain was a good student who was proud of his reading abilities and liked to read out loud in class, Fulton said.

After McLain joined the Army, he would visit the high school in uniform, carry himself with confidence and look people in the eye, Fulton said.

“It seemed like all of the sudden the light went on,” Fulton said.

“Private McClain was serving our country bravely as a cavalry scout with the 101st Airborne Division and gave his life in the line of duty,” Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said in a statement. “We owe him a debt of gratitude that we can’t repay and our thoughts and prayers are with his family,”

“After speaking with Private McLain’s family this morning, I once again extend my most heartfelt and sincere condolences to all his loved ones,” said Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

“As Mainers, we will never forget Private McLain’s honorable service to our state and country,” said Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine.

“My heart is saddened by the loss of Private McLain, who was bravely serving his country when he made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

McLain is the third soldier from Maine to die in Afghanistan this month and the 57th soldier with Maine ties to die since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started in 2001, according to a tally by the Bangor Daily News. Spc. Andrew Hutchins, 20, of New Portland, died on Nov. 8 in Khost Province. Marine 1st Lt. James R. Zimmerman, whose parents live in Smyrna Mills, was killed Nov. 2 in Helmand province.

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