Tacoma

Family learns fallen soldier was killed by friendly fire

Family learns fallen soldier was killed by friendly fire
TACOMA, Wash. -- It's been more than a year and a half since a Tacoma soldier was killed in Afghanistan.

U.S. Army Sgt. Nathan Wyrick was on his second tour of duty when his life was taken, but his family recently learned that it was not injuries sustained in combat that killed him.

Ron Smith remembers the day he learned about his son-in-law's death, and

"I wear this gold pin for him, the gold star that signifies that we lost someone in combat," Smith said.

Wyrick was a 34-year-old husband and father of four when he was killed October 10, 2011.

"You know that they're in harm's way, but you don't expect this," Smith said. "He was a supply sergeant, he wasn't a frontline infantryman."

Smith said the family recently learned that Wyrick was killed by friendly fire in Kandahar Province. His wife said several mortar rounds intended for an insurgent malfunctioned and one landed on Wyrick's tent.

The unit that fired the rounds was part of the same command as Wyrick's company in the 10th Mount Third Brigade.

"I know that happens in war, but what a disappointment that his life was lost because of someones, perhaps, fault or mistake," Smith said.

Wyrick's family said he enlisted in the Army to provide for his family. Nothing meant more to him than his wife, Rachel, and their four little boys. It's a family that now struggles to move forward without their husband and father.

"It doesn't change our grief over the loss of Nathan," Smith said. "He was a great young man."