Sailor killed in Afghanistan was son of Encinitas fire official
The sailor killed in Afghanistan in the same incident in which another sailor was captured by the Taliban has been identified as the son of a fire official in the city of Encinitas in northern San Diego County.
Deputy Fire Marshal George McNeley sent an e-mail to co-workers Monday afternoon saying that the Navy had informed him that his son, Petty Officer 2nd-class Justin McNeley, had been killed.
A day earlier, McNeley had sent out an e-mail saying that the Navy informed him that his son was missing in action. The e-mails were first reported in the North County Times.
Justin McNeley and another as-yet-unidentified sailor were last seen Friday in Logar province in eastern Afghanistan. Their vehicle was apparently attacked by Taliban forces about 60 miles south of Kabul.
The Taliban claimed that one American had been killed, the other captured. U.S. officials have launched a ground and air search to rescue the captured sailor and is offering a $20,000 reward for information.
CNN reports that the body of the other sailor -- McNeley -- has been recovered by Afghan government officials.
McNeley, 30, the father of two sons, enlisted in the Navy in 2001. He was set to return home next month. His mother lives in Kingman, Ariz.
"He was young, full of energy, a good kid and a patriot defending his country," his uncle, Colorado state legislator Jim Kerr, told the Colorado Springs Gazette.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: Navy Petty Officer 2nd-class Justin McNeley at a farewell party in his honor hosted by the Patriot Guard Riders in Kingman, Ariz., before he deployed to Afghanistan. Credit: John Miller / Patriot Guard Riders