Tuesday, April 17, 2012

R.I.P. - Staff Sgt. David P. Nowaczyk

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

             The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

            Staff Sgt. David P. Nowaczyk, 32, of Dyer, Ind., died April 15, in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was attacked with an enemy improvised explosive device.

            Nowaczyk was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

            For more information related to this release, media may contact the Fort Carson public affairs office at 719-526-7525 or at 719-526-5500, if after normal business hours.

A Fort Carson soldier died in a roadside bombing and his comrades in the post’s 4th Brigade Combat Team repelled two more attacks Sunday as insurgents launched an offensive in eastern Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. David P. Nowaczyk, 32, of Dyer, Ind., died after his vehicle was bombed in Kunar province. He was assigned to the brigade’s 2nd Battalion of the 12th Infantry Regiment.

In neighboring Nangarhar province, insurgents took aim at two bases manned by the brigade, which left Colorado for war in March.

The attacks in eastern Afghanistan came as insurgents lanched an 18-hour battle in the Afghan capital, Maj. Christopher Thomas, a brigade spokesman, said in a telephone interview from his base in Jalalabad.

Afghan officials on Monday blamed the brazen attacks on the Haqqani militant network, an insurgent faction tied to the Taliban and al-Qaida that includes an estimated 10,000 fighters — one of the most lethal threats to America and its allies in Afghanistan.

In Nangarhar province, insurgents either missed their target or were repelled by Afghan forces during two bombings, Thomas said.

In the Nangarhar attacks, one bomb detonated prematurely. Another insurgent “mis-timed” an bomb attack on Forward Operating Base Finley-Shields, reducing damage to the post.

No U.S. troops died in those blasts, though some were wounded by shrapnel, Thomas said.

The attacks highlighted the growing capabilities of the Afghan police, who were largely responsible for security near Jalalabad, a commercial hub near the famed Khyber pass, which leads to Pakistan, he added.

An Afghan guard was killed in the second Nangarhar attack while holding the insurgents at bay as Afghan police responded. Three insurgents died during that bombing. Another was wounded and captured.

Thomas said the Afghan guard’s “actions prevented a bad situation from being worse.”
While the insurgents were turned back in Nangarhar, they claimed one of the brigade’s soldiers in Kunar.

Nowaczyk joined the Army in 2005 and has served in Afghanistan three times. He joined the Fort Carson brigade in 2010.

He was killed by a roadside bomb, the favored insurgent tool in Iraq and one that has gained deadly popularity with the Taliban and other Afghan groups.

The infantryman was highly decorated, having earned one Bronze Star Medal for Valor and two Army Commendation Medals. He had also earned the Combat Infantryman's Badge and was a qualified parachutist.

Nowaczyk was the second 4th Brigade soldier killed since the unit went to war this year.
Commanders of the brigade have said they expect heavy fighting this summer as American forces work to stamp out the insurgency before the planned American pull-out in 2014.

The provinces controlled by the brigade sit along the Pakistan border and troops with the Fort Carson unit have been working to make sure insurgents can't cross that line into comparative safety.
The brigade has fought in the area before and paid a heavy price. In a yearlong deployment that began in 2009, the 3,500-soldier unit lost 39 soldiers. Eight of those soldiers died in a single battle.
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