Bomb kills Fort Lewis soldier in Afghanistan

A Fort Lewis soldier was killed Saturday in southern Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

Spc. Michael A. Dahl Jr. died in Argahndab in Kandahar province. The 23-year-old resident of Moreno Valley, Calif., was serving with 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack.

Seventeen soldiers from the Stryker brigade have died since the unit deployed to southern Afghanistan in July.

Eleven of those deaths have come from Dahl’s battalion – the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Division – which has spent much of its deployment fighting insurgents amid the adobe villages and orchards that straddle the Argahndab River north of Kandahar.

Dahl enlisted in January 2007 and trained as an armor crewman on the M1 Abrams tank. He deployed to Iraq and later arrived at Fort Lewis in July 2008.

Dahl’s mother, father and younger brother traveled Monday to Dover Air Force Base, Del., to watch the return of the soldier’s remains.

“I think my son’s a hero,” Michael Dahl Sr. told The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif. “He died for what he believed in.”

The family’s phone line was disconnected Tuesday morning, but Dahl’s mother, Patricia Dahl, told the Press-Enterprise her son was serious and a driven soldier who left for war without hesitation.

Dahl was the first member of 5th Brigade reported killed in October, following a violent start to the year-long deployment in which seven soldiers died in September and nine in August.

Scott Fontaine: 253-320-4758