The only upside to the bitter news of Nick Reid's death was that it appeared to be the last of the year. When he was mortally wounded by an "improvised explosive device" (roadside bomb) earlier this month in a place called Sperwan Village, the 26-year-old Joint Base Lewis-McChord staff sergeant was the 44th and seemingly final state soldier to die in Afghanistan 2012.
"I.E.D.'s have been around since World War II," The New York Times notes. "The Mujahiden used them in Afghanistan when they fought the Soviets. The Viet Cong used them in Vietnam. They have been the largest killer of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan."
On just the latest updated page of what has grown to become a roster of 444 Washington service members to die in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, four of the six obituaries mention death by bomb.
And the reverberations continue long after the blast. One of the four, Army Staff Sgt. Wesley R. Williams, 25, a Lewis-McChord Stryker from New Carlisle, Ohio, had a child, and one on the way, when he died.
During his Army career, he served two tours in Iraq, and was on his first deployment to Afghanistan. "I think we only spent one anniversary together," said his widow, Krista Williams. "It goes with the territory." Like buried bombs.