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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - An American soldier killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday grew up in west St. Louis County. Chief Warrant Officer Joshua Silverman was one of six soldiers who died when their Blackhawk helicopter crashed.

Silverman's loss is being felt beyond just his family and the military. An entire community is mourning the young man with a passion for flying.

Silverman lived in Chesterfield. His courage and determination were displayed at an early age when his parents moved to Arizona and he stayed behind to finish school at Parkway Central High.

After graduation Silverman enlisted in the Army to become a helicopter pilot and was stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas. There he made his career flying Blackhawks across numerous deployments.

"All of his friends admired his tremendous strength and courage to do something that was so dangerous," said Carol Rubin. "People gravitated toward him because of the conviction of his beliefs."

Rubin first met Silverman when he was a student at the former Solomon Schechter Day School.

On Friday, Rubin's students at the Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School paid tribute to Silverman with a prayer service. And two of the boys were chosen to lower the flag to half staff.

"I think they'll never forget the moment they did that. It was a very powerful moment."

Although the students never met Silverman, Rubin says he touched their lives in a way he'll never know.

"His life inspired all of us to come together. He learned according to Jewish tradition that one person can make a difference in this world and he took those words very seriously."

Sadly this isn't the first tragedy the Silverman family has experienced. Josh's sister died of cancer when she was only 15.

Silverman's family is expected to gather in St. Louis sometime next week for a memorial service.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

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