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Fellow veterans mourn fallen Marble Falls soldier

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TWC News: Fellow veterans mourn fallen Marble Falls soldier
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A soldier from Marble Falls was killed in Afghanistan Thursday.

The Department of Defense says Private First Class Payton Jones, 19, and another soldier from Denver, Col. were shot and killed by two Afghan soldiers and a literacy instructor.
The somber news hit Pfc. Jones’ hometown of Marble Falls late Friday night.

As a fellow soldier, the death of Pfc. Jones troubles Army veteran and Marble Falls resident Walter Hagen. Hagen joined the U.S. Army in 1946 and served for 30 years.

"It must be really bad if you can't trust the guy sitting next to you or working next to you,” Walter Hagen, retired U.S. Army, said. “You are trying to train somebody, and he turns around and shoots you."

While bothered by how Pfc. Jones lost his life, Hagen says Americans should remain proud. He wishes soldiers that served with him in Vietnam would have had the support he's certain Pfc. Jones' family will receive now.

"They recommended to us that we not wear our uniform downtown,” Hagen said. “Today, it's the opposite. Everyone in a uniform is a hero. That's wonderful."

Dave Clark served in Iraq with the U.S. Air Force both in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The stars and stripes on the back of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle mean more to him now than ever before.

“You start really understanding what this nation is and what this nation is about, and how great it is when you start serving overseas and you see how other people live," he said.

Clark knows Pfc. Jones made a difference during his time in Afghanistan and he hopes his sacrifice will be recognized and respected by Americans hundreds of miles from his hometown in the Texas Hill Country.

Jones was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg. Funeral arrangements are still pending for the 19-year-old soldier.

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