A roadside bomb explosion Tuesday killed two soldiers of a Fort Lewis Stryker brigade sent to southern Afghanistan to battle the Taliban, the Pentagon announced Sunday.
Pfc. Jonathan C. Yanney of Litchfield, Minn., and Spc. Troy O. Tom of Shiprock, N.M., became the first members of 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division killed since it deployed in June.
The soldiers were killed near Arghandab in Kandahar province. Tom’s parents told the Associated Press last week their 21-year-old son was killed when he stepped on a roadside bomb. His unit of the brigade’s 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, was setting up camp after a fight with Taliban insurgents earlier that day, his parents told the news service.
The 3,900-member unit is the first Stryker brigade to deploy to Afghanistan and is a crucial part of the Pentagon’s buildup of 17,000 troops to counter the simmering insurgency in the country’s south. The 5th Brigade has troops serving in Kandahar and Zabul provinces.
They are the 318th and 319th service members with Washington ties – either from the state or assigned to one of its military installations – to die during American military operations since 2001.
Tom, an infantryman on his first deployment, enlisted on Feb. 11, 2006 and arrived at Fort Lewis nine months later. He received the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Expert Infantryman Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
Yanney, a 20-year-old fire support specialist also on his first deployment, enlisted on March 25, 2008, and arrived at Fort Lewis on Sept. 6, 2008. His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.
Tuesday was a particularly deadly day for Washington’s troops. 1st Sgt. Jose San Nicholas Crisostomo, a long-time Spanaway resident, was killed in Kabul when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb. The last time three or more Washington service members were killed on the same day was Nov. 18, 2007, when three soldiers from 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division were killed on a patrol in Baqouba, Iraq.