Specialist Justin Ryan Helton was born 10 August 1988 in Chillicothe, Ohio. He enlisted in the United States Army in May 2010 and attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Upon graduation from basic training, Specialist Helton was temporarily assigned to Redstone Arsenal, Alabama where he entered the first phase of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) School. He graduated the first phase in September 2010. Specialist Helton then attended Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal and graduated on 22 July 2011 as a Basic Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. Specialist Helton was assigned to the 18th OD CO (EOD), 192nd OD BN (EOD), 52nd OD Group (EOD) in Ft Bragg, North Carolina as an EOD team member.
Specialist Helton deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in April 2014 where he served as an EOD team member in support of 4th BN, 3rd SOF Group (AIRBORNE). Specialist Justin Ryan Helton was killed in action while serving alongside his brothers in arms in Afghanistan on Monday, 9 June 2014. Specialist Helton was buried at Germany Cemetery in Beaver, Ohio.
Specialist Helton’s awards and decorations include the Combat Action Badge, Senior and Basic Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Multi-National Force and Observers Medal.
Specialist Helton is survived by his fiancée, Lauren Kelley, parents Wendall & Sandra Helton, sister Michelle Marie Veach, brothers Nathan and Jacob, maternal Grandparents, Nancy Tackett and husband William, niece, Madison Veach and nephew, Tanner Veach.