Lt. Col. Corol Dobson of Rock Hill, commander of more than 700 soldiers in Afghanistan in Task Force Prowler, said today that the death of a soldier under his command will reinforce his troops’ resolve in their battle against terrorism.
Sgt. Tristan Wade, 23, of Indiana, was part of a New Mexico-based Army unit that is attached to the 178th Combat Engineers, which is based in Rock Hill. The 178th is command staff for the task force and has 161 soldiers in Afghanistan.
Wade died Friday after an insurgent attacked his unit with a homemade bomb. His remains were returned to Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Tuesday.
“Our hearts are heavy in Task Force Prowler due to the loss of one of our brothers in arms, Sgt. Tristan Wade,” Dobson wrote in an email to The Herald. “Sgt. Wade volunteered to serve our nation in a time of war...where he fought courageously and ultimately gave his life to free the oppressed, maintain our security and destroy terrorism in our lifetime.
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“Although it doesn’t make the pain any less sharp or easier to bear, the incredible contributions he made in our lives, our mission, the people of Afghanistan, and ultimately our own freedom are unquestionable.
To honor Wade, he said, task force members “will maintain our focus, our values, and our standards. We will pursue the enemy wherever he may hide, and make him understand that he will never win against the greatest Army in the world.”
Wade was “an outstanding soldier and a true hero,” said Command Sgt. Major Joe Medlin of Rock Hill, the ranking enlisted man for the task force.
“He will certainly be missed by his unit and all of us in Task Force Prowler,” Medlin wrote in an email to The Herald.
Wade was the fourth death among troops working under the command of the 178th Combat Engineers. No local soldiers have been killed in action during this tour.
On Nov. 3, three New York Army reservists who were assigned to the 178th died when their unit was attacked by insurgents with a homemade bomb.
Wade was part of the 573rd Clearance Company, 2nd Engineer Battalion out of White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
The Rock Hill unit left in July, landed in Afghanistan in August, and is expected to return home in May or early June.