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Fallen soldier awarded top military honors

COAL GROVE — The Coal Grove soldier who was killed while serving in the Army Rangers in Afghanistan has been posthumously awarded the Bronze Star.

Sgt. Justin Bradley Allen died in a fire fight while on a combat operation in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, according to a military release. Allen was heading up an assault on an enemy position when he was killed.

Allen, 23, was a team leader for Company D, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.

This was his fourth deployment to this area as a Ranger and his second to Afghanistan. He had also served two tours in Iraq.

Allen joined the Army in May 2006 and was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in October 2007. There he was a grenadier and automatic rifleman. He became a team leader after his transfer to Company D.

His military education included the Basic Airborne Course, the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, the Army Ranger Course and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course.

His numerous awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge and Basic Rifle Marksmanship Qualification Badge.

During his time in the service Allen also earned the Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with combat star, Iraq Campaign Medal with combat star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

The solder was also posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal.

The visitation for Allen will be from 6 to 9 p.m. today at the Dawson-Bryant High School. The high school is also the site for the young soldier’s funeral at 11 a.m. Tuesday with Pastor Joe Rule officiating. The soldier will be laid to rest at Woodland Cemetery with full military honors.

On Thursday, the Lawrence County Commissioners declared Sunday Justin Bradley Allen Day. That is when his body was returned to Lawrence County

Allen’s family learned of his death a week ago and the young man was remembered by family, friends and classmates for his love of country and fearless desire to serve.

“He wanted to do whatever he perceived to be the hardest job he could,” his older brother Brian Allen remembered last week.