A Fort Lewis soldier was killed Wednesday in southern Afghanistan when a bomb detonated near his vehicle.
Spc. Kyle A. Coumas, a 22-year-old infantryman from Lockeford, Calif., was killed in Kandahar province, where much of 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division battling an entrenched Taliban presence.
Coumas is the 18th soldier from 5th Brigade to die since the 4,000-member unit left Fort Lewis in July. Twelve of those deaths have come from Coumas’ 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment.
He is the second Fort Lewis soldier in the past four days to die in Afghanistan. Spc. Michael A. Dahl Jr., also of the 1-17 Infantry, was killed Saturday.
The battalion has been fighting throughout the Arghandab River valley north of Kandahar city. The soldiers are tasked with clearing Taliban from the area of adobe villages and orchards.
No other details of the attack were released.
Coumas was on his first deployment. He joined the Army in February 2007 and reported to Fort Lewis four months later.
Matt Aguire, a friend of Coumas since the two attended the same elementary school, said the soldier long had a deep interest in the military, so it wasn’t a surprise when he enlisted.
Coumas and Aguire saw each other for the final time last summer at a barbecue in Lakewood.
“He was a good man,” Aguire wrote in an e-mail, “and I hope his memory will live on.”