Monday, October 10, 2011

Army Staff Sgt. Nathan L. Wyrick

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Nathan L. Wyrick, 34, of Enumclaw, Wash.

SSgt Wyrick was assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Oct. 10, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of combat-related injuries.

SSgt Wyrick graduated from Tacoma's Franklin Pierce High School in 1996 where he played for the school's varsity football team.

He joined the Army in March 2006 and served as a supply specialist. He deployed to Afghanistan in March 2011. He had previously deployed to Iraq in 2008.

SSgt Wyrick's awards and decorations include:
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal
Meritorious Unit Commendations (2)
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon
Certificates of Achievement (5)
Combat Action Badge
Driver Badge
Mechanic Badge

SSgt Wyrick is survived by his wife, Rachel Wyrick, and their four children, Stephan, Garrett, Ethan and Tanner.

Word of Sgt. Wyrick's death circulated Tuesday among Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers who knew him from a past assignment and among his fellow worshippers at Lakewood's New Hope Community Church.

Sgt. Wyrick graduated from Franklin Pierce High School with the class of 1996 and played for the school's varsity football team, a school spokesman said.

He left a lasting mark on his friends at New Hope church. They remembered him as a generous man who had served in Iraq and looked out for other Army families coping with deployments to the Middle East.

"He was a dad first and foremost, and a soldier second," said Andrea Wright, 28, of University Place.

Wright learned of Sgt. Wyrick's death Monday from the soldier's wife, Rachel Wyrick. They became close friends several years ago when Wright's husband was assigned to Lewis-McChord.

Another friend said Sgt. Wyrick loved his children so much he had tattoos of their names. He had an affection for other children, too, spending time with Wright's four sons when her husband served on a deployment overseas.

"He was uncle Nay-Nay," she said.

The Wyricks moved about a year and a half ago to Fort Drum, N.Y., when Sgt. Wyrick was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division. They've visited the South Sound several times since then, friends said.

Dan Livingston, a friend from New Hope Church, admired how Sgt. Wyrick supported his family while serving in the Army. Livingston said Sgt. Wyrick joined the service after first pursuing a career as a civilian electrician.

"He was a real passionate dad who joined the Army to support his family," Livingston said.

Another friend remembered Sgt. Wyrick as a "gung ho" soldier who never had a bad word to say about others.

"He was proud of the job he did," said Iona Parker, 60, of Steilacoom. "He did it very well. He wasn't a shirker and he didn't bad-mouth anyone."

The Wyricks stayed with the Parkers just before they moved to New York. Iona Parker said Nathan would spend time in the garage with her husband, talking about military life and "sharing what it means to leave your family and the risks involved."

"He desperately loved his family," Parker said.

Army Staff Sgt. Nathan L. Wyrick was killed in action on 10/10/11.

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