Fort Lewis – A Fort Lewis soldier was killed Wednesday in southern Afghanistan when a bomb detonated near his vehicle, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.
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 is 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.
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The battalion has been fighting throughout the Arghandab River valley north of Kandahar city, the heart of the Afghan Taliban. The soldiers are tasked with clearing Taliban fighters 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. Before that, his home was a town of about 3,000 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.
Matt Aguire, a friend of Coumas since the two attended the same elementary school, said the soldier had long held 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.”
Scott Fontaine: 253-320-4758