Beaverton soldier, Sunset H.S. graduate killed in Afghanistan

A Beaverton family is mourning the loss of their son who was killed in action in Afghanistan on Wednesday.

John Alexander Pelham was 22 years old and a graduate of Sunset High School. He was in his second tour of duty. Pelham is one of six children. He was not married and did not have any children of his own.

His father, Wendall Pelham, describes him as a man on a mission who was pursuing what he knew he was meant to be doing.

"He was very comfortable with who he was and what his life was and what his mission was," said Pelham.

The fallen soldier's uncle and grandfather both served in the military and his father says that history inspired his son.

"I believe that true warriors know what they're doing and why they're doing it and they do it because they can and because they have a heart for it," said Pelham.

The 22-year-old discovered that heart when he was younger and spent six months in the "Oregon Youth Challenge" program, which is run by the Oregon National Guard, where he excelled.

"He got there and he was a model soldier and a model student that proved to him that he made the correct choice," Pelham said

John Pelham went on to play baseball in high school and college, but he decided the military was his true calling. He worked as an intelligence analyst in the Army, but the details of his work are classified.

His family last talked to him on Monday and his father says he had a feeling it would be the last time he'd talk with his son, "I felt that when John and I finished our conversation that that was going to be the case. I couldn't say I'll talk to you when you get back nor could he say I'll call you when I get home," said Pelham.

The Department of Defense said Pelham died of injuries from small arms fire in the Kapisa Province.

The family hasn't made funeral arrangements yet, but they say the funeral will most likely be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Chapel in Beaverton.