Two Minn. servicemen killed in Afghanistanby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Two members of the military with Minnesota ties died in Afghanistan last Friday.
Master Sgt. Daniel L. Fedder, 34, was in a support battalion with the First Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton in California.
A highly-decorated bomb disposal technician, Fedder was killed by a roadside bomb in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan. A spokesman for the Marines said it's not yet clear whether Fedder was attempting to defuse the bomb that killed him. An investigation is ongoing.
Fedder was the father of two young children, who live with their mother in California. He was divorced, and had recently re-married.
The military news release gives no details of Dan Fedder's death, and family members are waiting for more information.
His grandmother, Florence Fedder, said Dan graduated from school in Pine City, and dedicated his life to the Marines.
"He was a very nice kid, got good grades in school as far as I know, wanted to make the service his career (and) joined the Marines," Florence Fedder said. "(He was) a very nice kid, never in trouble or anything."
He served two tours of duty in Iraq before his service in Afghanistan.
Pine City High School Principal George Johnson remembers Fedder well.
"As soon as I heard his name I could see his picture in the yearbook, because he's a very good looking kid, military-style haircut, smile and everything," Pine City High School Principal George Johnson said. "I remember how intense he was as a wrestler, very hard-working kid."
Johnson said he thought the military was a good career choice for Dan Fedder, because he loved the camaraderie of the wrestling team.
Adam Novak, 20, a former resident of Fergus Falls, also died in Afghanistan on Friday.
Novak served in the 101st Airborne Division. The Fergus Falls Daily Journal said he lived in Fergus Falls for about 11 years, before moving to Wisconsin. The Army said he was one of two soldiers killed when insurgents attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device in eastern Afghanistan.
"He was a dream kid to teach, very intelligent," said Sandra Richards, Adam Novak's Sunday school teacher in Fergus Falls. "He caught on; he was just a very kind and loving boy."
Novak was also a Boy Scout and soccer player. In 2008, his family moved to Wisconsin. He enlisted in the Army a year after graduating from Sauk Prairie High School. He was married in March, and he and his bride were planning a more formal wedding during his R&R in November.
Richards said Adam's mother is devastated by his death, especially since his brother is also serving in Afghanistan.
"He'll be greatly missed, he had a lot to offer, a lot to offer a wide range of people and everywhere," she said.
Funeral arrangements for both service men are pending.
- Morning Edition, 08/31/2010, 7:25 a.m.