Army specialist from Raleigh killed in Afghanistan

Broughton graduate died in Afghanistan

ykandimalla@newsobserver.comJuly 23, 2012 

Darrion Hicks at his graduation from Broughton High School in 2009.

COURTESY BROUGHTON HIGH SCHOOL

— An Army soldier killed in Afghanistan was considered a role model for fellow students at Broughton High School.

Spc. Darrion Hicks, 21, died on Thursday from injuries suffered in a bomb attack in Ghazni, south of Kabul. Hicks was serving in the 54th Engineer Battalion of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command based in Bamberg, Germany, according to the Department of Defense.

Hicks graduated from Broughton in 2009 and was a member of Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps for three years during high school, said Master Sgt. Richard Suggs, an aerospace instructor with the Broughton JROTC program. Hicks enlisted in the Army several months after his graduation.

“He set an example for others,” Suggs said Monday. “He was an all-round student and just a good person.”

Hicks, a cadet captain with Air Force JROTC, was recognized as “Mr. JROTC” as a senior, after receiving several awards. He was involved with the drill team and color guard and also participated in community service programs, including the Special Olympics and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Hicks also enjoyed technical repair work and spent much of his time in Broughton’s automotive tech shop.

In April 2011, the base newsletter, the Warner Weekly, featured Hicks in an article about a three-day “Best Sapper” competition with other members of his battalion. The contest, which divided the group into two-person teams, tested the soldiers in physical and engineering tasks, such as demolition, detecting mines and cutting timber and steel.

“Teamwork was the important thing,” Hicks said at the time, noting that the competition was physically and mentally demanding. “It physically pushed me to a limit I never thought I could achieve.”

Hicks is survived by his mother and one younger brother, Suggs said. On Monday, the family was in Delaware, where his body arrived at Dover Air Force Base, and had not made funeral arrangements.

Kandimalla: 919-829-8917

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