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Fallen Morehead City soldier returned to family on Friday

Sgt. James Allen Slape, 23, of Morehead City, was based in Washington, N.C. He was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on Oct. 4, according to the Department of Defense. (Daisha Jones, NewsChannel 12)

The body of a N.C. National Guard soldier was returned to his family Friday morning.

Sgt. James Allen Slape, 23, of Morehead City, was based in Washington, N.C. He was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on Oct. 4, according to the Department of Defense.

Slape was promoted to the rank of sergeant posthumously. Officials said in a press release Slape was assigned to N.C. Army National Guard's 60th Troop Command, 430th Explosive Ordnance Company, based in Washington.

"We are deeply saddened by the news of Sgt. James Slape losing his life while serving our Country,' said Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk, Adjutant General of the North Carolina National Guard. "We honor his courage, his selfless service and we extend our deepest sympathy to his family, friends, and fellow Soldiers as we hold them firmly in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time."

Sgt. Slape's unit deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel and Resolute Support, in April 2018. The unit is scheduled to return to the U.S. in the spring of 2019.

When told of the news of Sgt. Slape's death in combat, the Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper stated, "National Guard members step up and answer the call to service wherever they are needed, whether at home to help during a natural disaster or overseas to protect our national security. They leave their homes, their families and their jobs and put their lives on the line for us. On behalf of the people of North Carolina, I honor the service and sacrifice of Sgt. James Slape and offer our deepest sympathy to his loved ones and his fellow soldiers."

Gov. Cooper attended Slape's honorable transfer at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. Cooper said in a statement that he offered the state’s “deepest sympathy” to Slape's loved ones and fellow soldiers.

Sgt. James Slape joined the North Carolina National Guard in 2013 and graduated from the Explosive Ordnance School as an Explosive Ordnance Specialist in 2015.

Sgt. Slape was the 26th North Carolina Army National Guard Soldier to be killed in action, since Sept. 11, 2001.

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