Indiana soldier killed in helicopter crash was top student, athlete

Photo of 1st Lt. Clayton Cullen courtesy of the Department of Defense

BICKNELL, Ind. — An Indiana soldier killed in a California helicopter crash was a top student and athlete at his high school before starting Army officer training while in college.

The Army says 1st Lt. Clayton Cullen was among two Fort Carson, Colorado-based soldiers killed Saturday during a training crash at Fort Irwin, California.

The Vincennes Sun-Commercial reports the 25-year-old Cullen grew up in the southwestern Indiana town of Bicknell and was a 2011 graduate of North Knox High School, where the American flag was lowered to half-staff Monday. Cullen was a National Honor Society and student council member and MVP of the school’s soccer team.

Principal Matt Sandefer says Cullen “was an extraordinary young man.”

Cullen joined Indiana University’s ROTC program and entered the Army after his 2015 graduation.

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