Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Robert E Dyas

Nampa, Idaho

September 21, 2011

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
21 Army Spc

2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division

Fort Riley, Kansas

 Killed in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked their unit with small arms fire.

From KTVB  ktvb.com 09/22/11:

Nampa family mourns soldier killed in Afghanistan
by Justin Corr
Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVB
Posted on September 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Updated Saturday, Sep 24 at 3:14 PM
NAMPA -- Specialist Robert Dyas was killed Wednesday in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to family members in Nampa.
The Nowlands said Robert was a young man who was full of life, loved his family, was proud of his service in the Army, and proud of the sacrifices he was making for his country.
Thursday, they remembered their loved one.
"Words just cannot express the love that we have for Robert, and what he has done in the service," said Dyas' mother Melissa Nowland.
"I never, ever could imagine feeling this," said Dyas' stepfather, Jerry Nowland. "A piece of my heart is just torn off."
The 21-year-old was a fire support specialist (he worked on a field artillery team). He served more than three years, but was in his first deployment out of Fort Riley, Kansas.
"The last couple of weeks was real tough," said Jerry. "They were taking a lot of fire. He didn't get to talk to us much. When he was in, he would call us a couple times a week. But when he was out, he'd be gone for 10 days at a time."
Nowland says Dyas was in a firefight, was shot in the stomach, and later died.
"Robert is a true hero," said Melissa. "He has paid the ultimate price for all of our freedom."
"Freedom is not free. I feel it right now. It's not free," said Jerry. "He paid the price."
Dyas was scheduled to get out in January. His post-Army plans began with his fiance Casey.
"He wanted to marry Miss Casey Kobelt, and he wanted to get some property," said Melissa. "He wanted to have some animals. He talked about a little farm."
"That was his future," said Jerry. "She's a part of our family. She'll always be a part of our family. His future will live on. He won't be forgotten, ever."
"He is a son, he is a friend, and he is a brother," said Melissa. "He is going to be so missed."
Right after she talked to us, Melissa Nowland left for Dover Air Force Base, where her son's body is expected to be returned to U.S. soil Thursday night.
According to the Idaho Fallen Soldier Memorial, Dyas is the 56th servicemember from Idaho killed in the global War on Terror.

From KTVB TV ktvb.com 10/02/11:

Fallen soldier returns to Idaho
by Justin Corr
Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVB
Posted on October 2, 2011 at 5:06 PM

BOISE -- It was an emotional day at Gowen Field on Sunday as a fallen soldier, Nampa's Robert Dyas, was returned home.
It's called an honorable transfer of remains as a soldier who gave all is given back to his family.
There was almost total silence on the tarmac at Gowen Field as Dyas' coffin was taken off a plane and set back on the ground of his home state.
Specialist Dyas was shot and killed a week and-a-half ago in southern Afghanistan when insurgents attacked. Dyas was 21 years old.
Dyas leaves behind friends, family, and a fiancee, whom he planned to marry after his deployment. They openly wept over his flag-draped coffin before it was set in the nearby hearse.
His family described Dyas as a young man who was full of life, loved his family and was proud of the sacrifices he was making for his country.
Pride was also shown by the Patriot Guard Riders as the large group of motorcyclists escorted him off the base.
"It's our honor to be here," said Lyle Frost, the senior ride captain for the Patriot Guard Riders.
They're a group of people who didn't know Dyas, but know his sacrifice, and the sacrifice of all soldiers.
"I appreciate what they're doing for me now, and what they have given for me," said Frost. "They've given their lives and their families."
As the procession pulled away from the base, dozens of hot rods joined in. They were more strangers-turned-friends, there to honor Dyas' love of classic cars.
"They wanted to be a part of this, and honor this man, who was killed in Afghanistan," said Jack Armstrong, who helped organize the procession of cars. "I just talked to Bob Dyas a little while ago, the father. He was in tears, vigorously shook my hand, and could not say 'thank you' enough."
Thank you, to man who returned a hero.
The public is invited to attend Dyas' funeral next week. That will be Tuesday, at 10:00 a.m. at the Nampa First Church of the Nazarene. Soon to follow will be interment at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, the final resting place for a son and brother whom his family called, 'a true hero.'

From The Idaho Press-Tribune idahopress.com 10/03/11:

Family mourns Nampa soldier
Posted: Monday, October 3, 2011 12:19 am
The family of Spc. Robert E. Dyas received the soldier’s remains Sunday during an honorable transfer ceremony at Gowen Field. Dyas, a 21-year-old from Nampa, died Sept. 21 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, after a firefight. The transfer ceremony was private, but Dyas’ funeral will be open to the public. The funeral begins Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Nampa First Church of the Nazarene, 601 16th Ave. S. Following the funeral, Dyas will be interred at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.

From The Idaho Press-Tribune idahopress.com 09/23/11:

Nampa parents praise soldier Robert E. Dyas' service
Posted: Friday, September 23, 2011 1:13 am
NAMPA — The parents of U.S. Army Spc. Robert E. Dyas announced Thursday that their son was killed in combat in Afghanistan.
The military had not confirmed the death, but Melissa and Jerry Nowland held a press conference in their Nampa front yard to notify the public. Other family members cried as they stood behind the couple in front of their modest home with a U.S. flag at half mast and a makeshift memorial with pictures of Dyas.
According to his family, Dyas died Wednesday from wounds in the abdomen received during a small arms fire fight in the Kandahar Province.
Melissa Nowland called Dyas, 21, a “true hero” who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
“He is a son, he is a friend and he is a brother,” she said, “and he is going to be so missed, so missed.”
Dyas was a fire support specialist in the 34th Regiment, 1st Brigade, out of Fort Riley, Kansas. Melissa said Dyas’s civilian job was eliminated before he enlisted.
“He didn’t want to just sit around and wait and look for jobs,” she said. “He thought he wanted the security of the military.”
Dyas planned to go back to school and learn a trade when he got out of the military, Jerry Nowland said. He liked to bird hunt with his stepfather and said considered hunting his lifetime training. Jerry said what Dyas learned hunting helped him in Afghanistan. 
Dyas had recently purchased a 1966 Pontiac LeMans, like the one his step father owns, on eBay. He told Jerry that the two could cruise together in their classic cars.
“That car’s going to be so special to us,” Jerry said.
Jerry also expressed his opinion that the soldiers still in Afghanistan should come home.
“We need to bring them home,” he said. “Nobody needs to feel this kind of pain.”
Melissa planned to travel to Dover, Del., Thursday for the return of Dyas’s remains.
Family members said they plan to set up foundation representing Dyas.

From KTVG ktvb.com 10/04/11:

Hundreds celebrate life of fallen Nampa soldier
by Natalie Podgorski
Posted on October 4, 2011 at 12:43 PM
NAMPA -- Family and friends of Army Specialist Robert Dyas laid their fallen solider to rest this morning.
The Nampa man died last month during a firefight in southern Afghanistan.
Hundreds of people came to the funeral, so many people that the parking lot at First Church of the Nazarene was nearly full. You can tell how many people love and miss Robert Dyas.
Yellow ribbons were tied and painted on cars. The Patriot Guard stood outside the church as people came to remember and celebrate Dyas' life.
Inside the church Robert was remembered as funny, someone who could put a smile on anyone's face.
His step-father talked about Robert’s love for hunting and the outdoors. He told his family those skills helped him in Afghanistan.
Dyas was deployed with his battalion in April 2010. Dyas died when he was shot in the stomach during a firefight on Sept. 21, 2011.
People at his service say it's a reminder that our country must pay for our freedom.
One of Dyas' passions was muscle cars and there were a handful at his service.
Recently, Dyas' bought one of his own - a 1966 Pontiac LeMans. His family plans to restore it in his honor.

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