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Tonight we honor two young soldiers from the same battalion who died two days apart from IED explosions. Both soldiers were assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA.

Since 2001, 2042 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan; since 2003, 4486 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Iraq.

The IGTNT (I Got The News Today) series is a remembrance of U.S. servicemembers who will not be coming home from war.

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                                                                                       ~ Photo Credit Timroff

The Department of Defense has announced the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Spc. Sterling W. Wyatt, 21, of Columbia, MO, died July 11, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked with an enemy improvised explosive device. Spc. Wyatt was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA.

Sgt. Michael E. Ristau, 26, of Rockford, IL, died July 13 in Qalat, Zabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked with an enemy improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA.

Please join me below for a remembrance of their lives. The tribute to Spc. Wyatt was written by CalNM.

 
Spc. Sterling W. Wyatt, 21, of Columbia, Missouri

Spc. Wyatt died from his wounds July 11 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, after his vehicle was attacked with an enemy improvised explosive device. Wyatt was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Residents of the Shepard neighborhood where Sterling William Wyatt grew up lined his family's yard with flags to honor him. Sterling was an Eagle Scout and 2009 Rock Bridge High School graduate. After high school, Sterling attended Moberly Area Community College.

Sterling transferred to Columbia College where he entered the ROTC program, his first step on plans to train to become an Army Ranger. Sterling Wyatt entered the Army in November 2010.

Wyatt deployed to Afghanistan in December 2011, and was killed by a roadside bomb on July 11.

His mother Sherry, said the day before her son's death he was promoted from private first class to specialist.

Spc. Wyatt was due to come home from his first tour of duty in August.

A public memorial tribute is being held for the soldier at Shepard Elementary.

ColumbiaMissourian and ColumbiaMissourian

"On behalf of the entire Joint Base Lewis-McChord military and civilian community, we extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Spc. Wyatt," JBLM officials said in a Thursday news release.

Wyatt had been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, NATO Medal, Certificate of Achievement, and Combat Infantryman Badge, according to JBLM officials.

KOMO News  KIROTV

Among those Spc. Wyatt leaves behind are his family and friends from home and the 5th Battalion.
Spc. Sterling Wyatt is missed. May he rest in peace.


* * *

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Sgt. Michael E. Ristau

Described by friends as having a "tremendous love for life," Sgt. Ristau was born on December 20, 1985, in Cascade, IA. He graduated from Lincoln's Challenge Academy in Waveland, MS, in 2004 and enlisted in the Army about a month later.

An infantryman, Sgt. Ristau had been at Lewis-McChord since he completed his training. He served in Iraq from June 2006 through August 2007, and deployed to Afghanistan with his brigade in December 2011.

According to Battle Company Project, the 26-year-old was a "brave, quiet young soldier." On June 18, 2011, he married his wfie Elizabeth. Their son, Hyle Lee Ristau, was born at Tacoma on Nov. 28., 2011, just days before his father deployed to Afghanistan.



Sgt. Ristau with his wife and son on deployment day 12-16-11. It was the last time he saw them in person.

His awards and decorations include Army Achievement Medal, Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Good Conduct Medal (two awards), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver – Wheeled Vehicles.

Ristau was an avid competitor in the rodeo; he loved bull riding.


His family said in a statement that Ristau died serving the country he loved.

“He will live on forever in our memories. Though his time on earth was short, his impact was huge. We have lost our Michael, but we are still so proud of him and his choice to serve our nation.”
~source~~source~~source~~source~

Rest in peace, Sgt. Michael E. Ristau. You have served with honor.

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About the IGTNT series:

"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our US troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by Sandy on Signal, noweasels,  monkeybiz, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean,  Kestrel9000, TheFatLadySings, JaxDem, and me, Ekaterin. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them.

Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories. The US Department of Defense news releases are found at defense gov/releases. Icasualties lists the names of those killed, and shows the number of wounded. Published AP photos of the returning war fatalities are found on the Dover AFB site. Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries in the series which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by monkeybiz, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, joyful, roses, SisTwo, a girl in MI, Spam Nunn, JeNoCo, Janos Nation, True Blue Majority, Proud Mom and Grandma, Sandy on Signal, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Ms Wings, maggiejean, racheltracks, ccasas, JaxDem, CalNM, TheFatLadySings, and me, Ekaterin. These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for our fallen brothers and sisters.

If you would like to contribute to the series, even once a month, please contact Sandy on Signal.

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Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members mentioned here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.
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