Saturday, August 29, 2009

Four Fort Lewis soldiiers killed in Afghanistan

Four soldiers from Fort Lewis's 5th Stryker Brigade were killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said Friday.

Killed Tuesday were Pfc. Dennis M. Williams, 24, of Federal Way; Capt. John L. Hallett III, 30, of Concord, Calif; Capt. Cory J. Jenkins, 30, of Arizona; and Sgt. 1st Class Ronald W. Sawyer, 38, of Trenton, Mo.

KOMO television, the Seattle ABC affiliate, says Williams family told them he was concerned about a lack of ammunition and equipment to fight the war, echoing problems voiced by troops early in the Iraq war.

"What he was told and what he heard is that ammo was low, conserve your stuff, and he just didn't feel that they were equipped like they should have been - like it was a low-budget war," Dennis' brother, David Williams, was quoted by KOMO as saying.

Williams, a Federal High School graduate from the Seattle area, enlisted in 2007 and was on his first deployment.

Jenkins, a Brigham Young University graduate, was a physician assistant, Sawyer a medic. Hallett was a West Point graduate.

The four served with the brigade's 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment.

Fort Lewis's Stryker brigades, considered the most technologically advanced ground forces in the Army, have now suffered six casualties since arriving in Afghanistan in July. It is a key elemenet in the fight against Taliban strongholds in Kandahar and Zabul provinces.

The News Tribune of Tacoma says the deaths push the number of Washington service members killed since 2001 in Iraq and Afghanistan to 323.

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