IED attacks in Afghanistan claim lives of four Alaska-based soldiers
November 19, 2011
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LINDSEY, Afghanistan — Improvised bombs this week killed four soldiers from Fort Wainwright, Alaska’s 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, in three separate attacks in an area of Kandahar province known as the birthplace of the Taliban.
Spc. Calvin M. Pereda, 21, of Fayetteville, N.C., died Nov. 12 of injuries from a bomb strike during a foot patrol. Sgt. 1st Class Johnathan B. McCain, 38, of Apache Junction, Ariz., died the following day after an improvised explosive device detonated under his armored vehicle, according to Defense Department press releases.
On Wednesday, a powerful explosion killed Spc. James R. Burnett Jr., 21, of Wichita, Kan., and Pfc. Matthew C. Colin, 22, of Navarre, Fla.
McCain, Burnett and Colin were all assigned to Company A, 1-5 Infantry, part of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. Pereda was assigned to the battalion’s Company B.
Panjwai district, where the attacks occurred, is the site of Tarnak Farms, where Osama bin Laden allegedly planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar’s hometown is also nearby.
U.S. and Afghan forces launched a major offensive in the district in September to clear out militants, meeting little resistance.
Since then, U.S. commanders have noted that Taliban insurgents have remained in the area beyond their typical fighting season.
The 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, which directs coalition operations in Panjwai and four other districts, has lost 20 soldiers since deploying to Afghanistan in April. Prior to this week, the brigade had gone more than two months without a combat death in Panjwai, Defense Department casualty releases indicate.
NATO’s U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force over the past week reported nine coalition deaths in southern Afghanistan, all but one of which it attributed to improvised explosive devices.