UPDATED 04/17/12 11:11 a.m.
DYER, Ind. (CBS) – The community of Dyer, Ind., is mourning one of its own, after a soldier was killed in Afghanistan.
As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, Staff Sgt. David P. Nowaczyk, 32, died after the vehicle he was riding in struck an improvised explosive device in Kunar Province, a U.S. Defense Department news release said.
He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colo. He had been deployed to Afghanistan twice before, Fort Carson said.
Nowaczyk had been called to Afghanistan three times, and each of those three times, he answered his country’s call. Only on Sunday, some six weeks after he began his third tour of duty, he was killed by the roadside bomb.
No one answered the door of Nowaczyk’s family home in Dyer Tuesday morning, but a neighbor who used to live next door to the family when they lived in nearby Munster did want to pay tribute.
“He’s been gone for a couple of years, but I remember I thanked him for what he was doing for us out there. It was kind of a shock when I heard,” said the neighbor, Jim Kus. “I mean, he came back last month before his daughter was born, and he was telling me a few stories about what was going on out there, and how he came a couple close calls already; I mean, he was out there. It’s just sad; I mean, the daughter’s only 2 years old. Now she has to go grow up without a father. It’s pretty sad.”
Nowaczyk was a decorated veteran who earned a bronze star for his previous service, and earned another one posthumously for what happened on Sunday.