Several media outlets are reporting that San Diego-based sailor Benjamin D. Rast was one of the two U.S. servicemembers killed by friendly-fire from a drone in Helmand province, Afghanistan. According to television station San Diego 6, the 23-year-old Seaman Rast was stationed with the Naval Medical Center, Expeditionary Medical Force Detachment in San Diego. In another ironic local connection, the drone that may have been responsible for Rast's death was a Predator, made by General Atomics in Poway.
Fox News reports that the military is still looking into the deaths of Rast and 26-year-old Marine Staff Sgt. Jeremy D. Smith of Arlington, Texas:
If confirmed, it will be the first time that a Predator drone has killed U.S. servicemembers.
Click here to read Rast's MySpace page, where he describes his mother as his hero, and says he'd like to meet the president of the United States and Barry Sanders.
Nast's father, who lives in Indiana, spoke with local South Bend television station WNDU about his son's death: