Soldier killed in Afghanistan remembered for 'warrior spirit' - KPTV - FOX 12

Local soldier killed in Afghanistan remembered for his 'warrior spirit'

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John Alexander Pelham // Photo provided by family John Alexander Pelham // Photo provided by family
John Alexander Pelham // Photo provided by family John Alexander Pelham // Photo provided by family
John Alexander Pelham // Photo provided by family John Alexander Pelham // Photo provided by family
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A local soldier was killed during a classified Army mission in Afghanistan.

The family of John Alexander Pelham, 22, learned that he died of gunshot wounds Wednesday.

Pelham is a Sunset High School graduate, and his family still lives in southwest Portland.

His father, Wendall Pelham, said he talked to his son on Monday. He said because of his role in the Army, he knew his son couldn't say much about the mission he was about to embark on.

Still, he said their last conversation felt different. Wendall Pelham said he was not able to get the words out to tell his son to call him back when he returned.

"Which was my affirmation that, you know, it was probably going to be the last time I talk to my son," Wendall Pelham said, fighting back tears.

This was John Pelham's second tour in Afghanistan.

Back home, he was one of six children. He played baseball and graduated from Sunset High School in 2010.

John Pelham tried junior college, according to his dad, but the Army was his true calling.

"His grandfather, my father, was career military," Wendall Pelham said. "My brother was a ranger and I believe Alex always had that warrior spirit."

John Pelham was scheduled to come home for more training and possibly go to college through the ROTC program in June.

He was also engaged to be married.

Wendall Pelham said his son was living his dream.

"He told us numerous times, 'I've never been happier. I've never been more at peace with who I am and what I'm doing,'" Wendall Pelham said. "So, as a dad, how do you refute that?"

John Pelham's body has been transported to Maryland. His father said he plans to travel there to escort his son back home for a memorial service.

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