2 Pa. National Guard Members Killed In Afghanistan
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Two Pennsylvania Army National Guard members from western Pennsylvania were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan, officials said Sunday.
Sgt. First Class Robert Fike of Conneautville in Crawford County and Staff Sgt. Bryan Hoover of West Elizabeth in Allegheny County were on a foot patrol in the Bullard Bazaar in Zabul province of southeastern Afghanistan when they were killed in the 10:25 a.m. Friday blast, guard spokesman Cory Angell said Sunday.
Another guardsman, Pfc. Anthony Spangler, of Howard in Centre County, was wounded but has returned to duty following the blast, which killed many civilians, Angell said. The three were with the guard’s Company C, 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry, in Connellsville and were providing security with a provincial reconstruction team in the province.
Fike, 38, a corrections officer at SCI Albion who had been deployed to Saudi Arabia in 2002 and to Iraq in 2007, was working with a provincial reconstruction team, “seeing what the villages needed,’’ said his father, James Fike of Stafford.
“He loved the military, even though he did it part time,’’ his father said. “He had a great love for the country, a great respect for this country, and he always felt he was doing the right thing.’’
James Fike also said his son valued being outdoors and his time as a father.
“He wanted to hunt. He loved to fish, and if he had spare time that’s what he did,’’ he said. “He loved being in the outdoors and loved being with his daughter.’’
Hoover, 29, was a track coach with the Elizabeth- Forward school district, and students gathered at the high school on Saturday to place a memorial.
“He was such a nice, inspirational coach, and he always helped us,’’ said Braelyn Tracy, a student who had been coached by Hoover.