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Federal Way soldier killed in Afghanistan
Another Sept. 11 anniversary approaches and with it comes news that a Federal Way soldier deployed in Afghanistan was killed Aug. 25.
Spc. Dennis M. Williams, 24, was on a tour of duty with the U.S. Army's 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division out of Fort Lewis when he and three other soldiers perished when their vehicle was attacked.
Along with Williams, Sgt. 1st Class Ronald W. Sawyer of Trenton, Mo., age 38, Capt. Cory J. Jenkins of Arizona, age 30, and Capt. John L. Hallett III of California, age 30, also died from wounds suffered when their vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device, according to the I Corps and Fort Lewis Public Affairs Office.
All four soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment. The U.S. Department of Defense has not released any further information on the attack.
Williams graduated from Federal Way High School in 2003. He enlisted in the Army in October 2007. Williams first reported to Fort Benning, Ga. for initial entry training in November that same year. He then reported to Fort Lewis in March 2008.
Williams' deployment, in mid June, to Afghanistan was his first tour of duty, according to an I Corps and Fort Lewis Public Affairs Office media release. During his time with the U.S. Army, Williams earned the National Defense Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon, according to the release.
Williams' wife, Maria, and two young children: Grant, 2-months old, and Alaina, 18-months old, survive him. Several other family members reside in Federal Way. The family has not released a photo or public statement via the Fort Lewis pubic affairs office.
A casualty assistance officer will be appointed to work with Williams' remaining family members, Catherine Caruso, Fort Lewis media relations officer said. A memorial service will be planned by the soldier's family, she said.
Additionally, a fallen soldier's deployed and non-deployed unit members will both traditionally hold a service, she said. Memorial services held by non-deployed members of the unit at the Fort Lewis base are generally held within two weeks of a soldier's death, Caruso said
The 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment had previously been scheduled to deploy to Iraq. An announcement by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates sent approximately 12,000 troops, including Williams' unit, to Afghanistan.
As of 10 a.m Aug. 31, 802 U.S. soldiers have given their life in the Afghanistan war, also known as Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 560 were killed in action, according to U.S. Department of Defense data found at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf.
As of the same date, 4,339 U.S. soldiers have given their lives in the Iraq war, also known as Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to the U.S. Department of Defense statistics. Of these, 3,468 were killed in action, according to the data.
Check it out
• To stay updated on Fort Lewis news, including casualties, statements and photos about Fort Lewis fallen soldiers, visit www.lewis.army.mil/pao.
• To view the U.S. Department of Defense casualties data, visit http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf