A soldier from Waterford and New London was killed in action in Afghanistan on Sunday.
Sgt. Ari Cullers, 28, was repairing a bulldozer in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan when he was killed in action by a rocket-propelled grenade, Gov. Malloy said.
"It is with tremendous sadness that we mourn the loss of Sergeant Cullers, who gave his life serving our nation," Malloy said in a statement. "On behalf of all Connecticut residents, I extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and loved ones as we honor his life and remember his service."
Cullers served in the Army's Headquarters, Headquarters Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team and was stationed out of Ft. Drum, New York.
He attended Waterford High School, where a flag flies at half-staff.
Inside the school, there's a feeling of sadness for Cullers, a 2001 graduate.
“I thought what a waste of a bright, young man. It's very tragic. This is the third person, the third graduate that we've lost to the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. It was very, very sad. We had a few teachers that knew him that were tearful,” said Rebecca Brown Amanti, the school’s vice principal.
Brown Amanti worked with Cullers through his four years of high school.
“I got to know him rather well. I found him to be a very funny, kind young man. His mission was to make people happy throughout the course of the day and he had a pretty good sense of humor,” she said.
Cullers also came back to the school to visit, dressed in his Army uniform.
Brown Amanti said Culler was proud of himself and the mission he was serving, and that was something his former teachers were happy to see.
“They were all very proud of him. That kind of structured lifestyle worked very well for him, and they were happy that he was proud of himself,” Amanti said.
The Governor has ordered that all flags fly at half-staff until there are burial services for Sgt. Cullers.
Malloy has ordered that flags remain at half-staff until Sgt. Cullers is buried. Funeral arrangements are not yet available.