London soldier killed in Afghanistan

A soldier from London was killed Sunday in Afghanistan, according to a news release from the U.S. Army.

Pfc. Dustin P. Napier, 20, died in an exchange of small-arms fire in the city of Qalat, in Afghanistan's Zabul province, according to a release the Army issued Tuesday.

Family members said Napier had wanted to be a soldier since he was a child, said retired Air Force Col. Mark Jones, commander of the Air Force ROTC program at South Laurel High School.

"He was living his dream," Jones said Tuesday.

Napier's father, Darrell Napier, said he served five years in the military. Both his sons, Darrell Jr. and Dustin, followed him into the service, but Darrell Jr. was discharged for medical reasons, the elder Napier said.

Napier, who wore his camouflage uniform and boots to school nearly every day, was the cadet commander at South Laurel his senior year, in 2009-10, and was the most-decorated cadet, Jones said.

David Cummins, principal at South Laurel High School, said Napier did well in school and never caused a discipline problem. "Just a model student," Cummins said.

It was announced at the senior awards ceremony that Napier was going to the Army, Cummins said.

Napier reported to basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., in July 2010, and arrived at Fort Wainwright, in Alaska, in November 2010, according to the Army.

Napier was assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

He went to Afghanistan with his 4,000-soldier brigade in April 2011 for a one-year deployment, the Army said.

Two other soldiers from the same unit were wounded in the enemy attack in which Napier was killed.

A spokesman for the Army could not provide details Tuesday.

Darrell Napier said an Army official told him his son had been shot in the head. Dustin Napier was born and died in an Army hospital, his father said.

According to an obituary on the London Funeral Home Web site, Napier is survived by his wife, Tabitha Sturgill Napier of Eolia; his parents, Darrell and Marianne Napier of London; a brother and a stepson.

Napier was married last October, his father said.