North Florida private killed in Afghanistan

A Florida soldier who was on his first deployment to Afghanistan was killed this weekend in an explosion, the Pentagon said Monday.

Army Pfc. Markie T. Sims, 20, of Citra, north of Ocala, died Saturday in Panjwal, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, according to a Defense Department statement.

A combat engineer by training, Sims joined the military in November 2011, trained at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and was assigned to his first duty station at Joint Base Lewis-McChord with the 38th Engineer Company, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. It was not immediately known how long he had been in Afghanistan.

His remains were being returned to the U.S. on Monday, New Year’s Eve, at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.