A Joint Base Lewis-McChord military police officer who planned a career in civilian law enforcement was killed Monday in southern Afghanistan after his unit was hit by an improvised explosive device.
Pfc. David Fahey Jr., 23, of Norwalk, Conn., died in Kandahar Province, the Taliban heartland where most of Lewis-McChord’s casualties have occurred in the past two years.
Fahey was the first reported combat death from the base northeast of Olympia in more than six months.
He was assigned to the 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade at Lewis-McChord.
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Fahey’s unit reported other nonfatal injuries from Monday’s attack, but Lewis-McChord officials said they did not have information that could be verified and released to the media. A spokesman for the NATO command in Kabul declined to provide further information.
Fahey grew up in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., where he was raised by his uncle. Tom Fahey told The North County News of New York that his nephew wanted to serve in the military to follow his grandfather, a World War II veteran.
“It was something he spoke about often,” Tom Fahey told the New York newspaper.
“He was a man of integrity who loved God, who loves his country,” Tom Fahey said.
Another uncle, Christopher Fahey of Wilmington, N.C., told The Stamford (Connecticut) Advocate that Pfc. Fahey wanted to join the New York Police Department after completing his tour in Afghanistan.
“He always talked about being a policeman,” Christopher Fahey told the Connecticut newspaper.
“He was friendly. He has a load of friends. He was well liked,” Christopher Fahey said.
Pfc. Fahey deployed to Afghanistan with his unit in June 2010, according to a Lewis-McChord spokeswoman.
He enlisted in August 2007 at Springfield, Mass., and reported to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., the next month. After training as a military policeman, he served briefly at Camp Walker, South Korea, before reporting to Lewis-McChord in March 2009.
The last combat death of a Lewis-McChord soldier came on Aug. 22, when an air defense artilleryman was killed in southern Iraq.
In Afghanistan, the last reported local combat deaths were July 24, when four artillerymen were killed together in a roadside bombing.
The Lewis-McChord community took a heavy toll in the second half of 2009 and the first half of 2010. More than three dozen soldiers were killed in Afghanistan during that period. The numbers of wounded, injured and killed declined dramatically starting last summer after the bulk of more than 18,000 deployed troops returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The next large Lewis-McChord unit scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan is the I Corps headquarters. It is scheduled to oversee NATO’s daily combat operations from Kabul beginning this summer.