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Soldier’s life remembered as one lived to the fullest

Northwest Guardian

Published: 03:10PM February 28th, 2013
Soldier’s life remembered as one lived to the fullest

Courtesy photo


Calling the death of Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Reid “a question without an answer,” Sgt. 1st Class Manny Sanchez described his best friend as a Soldier who lived a fast-paced life and just wanted everyone to be happy.

“Soldiers of his caliber are rare,” Sanchez said, his voice shaking. “He will not be forgotten for all the good he gave us.”

Reid, 26, died Dec. 13, 2012, from wounds suffered in an improvised explosive device blast. The explosive ordnance disposal specialist with the 53rd Ordnance Company, 3rd Ordnance Battalion, was on his second deployment to Afghanistan.

Friends, Family and fellow Soldiers gathered Feb. 20 at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Lewis North Chapel to remember Reid, a native of New York who enjoyed riding his Harley Davidson and was habitually late to social gatherings.

“We told him we made a bet about how late he would be,” Sanchez said. “In true Nick style, it was the only occasion when he showed up on time.”

Sanchez said he could see the day’s stress and worry drain from Reid’s face when he rode on his motorcycle. He loved the hobby so much, Sanchez said, that Sanchez and his wife along with Reid and another Soldier, formed their own motorcycle club.

Sanchez served first as Reid’s team leader and platoon sergeant before becoming his operations sergeant. Sanchez considered Reid his “adopted son,” and Reid even lived on and off with Sanchez and his family. Their close relationship allowed them to confide in each other regarding their fears of a combat deployment.

“He said if he had to go to not be sad because he had lived a full life,” Sanchez said.

Reid’s company commander, Capt. Chad Juhlin, remembered Reid as a dedicated Soldier who was committed to being the best EOD team leader he could be.

“He was either outside training with his team or inside complaining about not being outside training with his team,” Juhlin said. “This Soldier displayed a dedication and determination that can only be found in very few people. I am still in awe of his dedication to our mission.”

Juhlin said Reid knew the risks of his job and often resorted to humor as a way to lighten the atmosphere of his dangerous profession. Because of his short stature and head of red hair, Juhlin often teased Reid about being the company’s leprechaun, and Reid played along. But Juhlin said Reid always remained vigilant and was one of the best Soldiers in the Army.

“The 53rd EOD lost a superb EOD tech, the Army lost an excellent Soldier, and we all lost a great friend,” Juhlin said.

In Memoriam

Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Reid was born in Brockport, N.Y. on April 2, 1986. He graduated from Brockport High School in 2004 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2006.

Upon completion of EOD training, Reid was assigned to the 53rd Ordnance Company at Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Wash.

In 2010 he deployed with his unit to Afghanistan as an EOD sergeant. After that deployment he became certified as an EOD team leader in 2011 and once again deployed to Afghanistan in September 2012.

A Fox television affiliate in New York reported Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed flags on state government buildings to be flown at half-staff on Dec. 20 in Reid’s honor.

“Along with all New Yorkers, I mourn the death of Staff Sgt. Reid and extend my condolences to his Family, friends and fellow Soldiers,” Cuomo said. “We will remember his sacrifice and his dedication to our nation.”

Reid’s military honors include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (2nd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Senior Explosive Ordnance Badge, and Combat Action Badge. Reid was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.

He is survived by his parents, Kenneth and Dorothy, and his younger sister, Susan.