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First American killed this year is local soldier

The first American killed this year in Afghanistan is a soldier who grew up in Okaloosa County.

Sergeant First Class William "Kelly" Lacey was killed Saturday, when insurgents attacked his unit with rocket propelled grenades. He grew up in Niceville, graduating from high school there in 1994.

In Afghanistan, Lacey was serving as a vehicle mechanic with the first infantry division out of Fort Knox. He was on his fifth combat deployment, just ten days away from coming home.

In his close-knit hometown, even people who didn't know him are feeling the loss.

"I wish that people....other people would understand that if that was their child, how hard it would be to lose a child, no matter the age. You know, they're over there fighting for us," said Chantelle Bartlett of Benny's BBQ.

After death, Sergeant Lacey was awarded the purple heart. He will be buried near his parents' home in Laurel Hill.