The Department of Defense announced Saturday that Staff Sgt. Alexander G. Povilaitis of Dawsonville was killed in action Thursday in Afghanistan.
Povilaitis, 47, died when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, according to the department's report.
Based in Washington state at Joint Base Lewis-Mcchord, Povilaitis was assigned to the 570th Sapper Company, 14th Engineer Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade.
He was a decorated soldier with medals and decorations including the Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star.
He is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter.
Post Commander Michael P. McMahon of Lumpkin and White County's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5533 responded with sadness for Povilaitis and his family.
"It is a sad event anytime that a service member pays the ultimate price for freedom and our nation, but when it hits so close to home, it touches every VFW member in our area, as we all understand the risks," he said.
He said his post awaits Povilaitis' return to show their condolences and respect.
Povilaitis began his service in the Army in February 1984 and served three years as a single channel radio operator, according to record units.
After a break in service, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in March 2008.
On Sept. 23, 2008, Povilaitis re-entered the active duty Army and reported to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for further training and advanced individual training in Military Occupational Specialty 12B, meant for combat engineers, according to unit records.
He was twice deployed to Iraq from the White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico. From November 2009 through July 2010 he was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Povilaitis was transferred to the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state in June 2011 and first deployed to Afghanistan with his unit in July 2011.
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