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Nathaniel Nyren, South Lakes Grad, Dies in Iraq

Soldier killed in car accident

“He loved his daughter more than life itself,” said Courtney Nyren about her former husband, Staff Sergeant Nathaniel Nyren of Reston. Nathaniel Nyren was killed in Iraq on Tuesday, Dec. 28, when a civilian vehicle crashed into his military vehicle. He was 31 years old.

“The last time we talked to him was on Christmas Day,” said Courtney Nyren, “everything seemed to be fine.” According to Peter Nyren, Nathaniel’s father, a civilian car driven by a 16 year-old Iraqi boy smashed into the side of a humvee, which rolled over multiple times. Nyren was behind the wheel of the vehicle, heading a convoy of military vehicles to a maintenance facility in Baghdad when the accident occurred.

Major Elizabeth Robbins, Army spokesperson, said that the incident is categorized as non-hostile, meaning that the people on the ground believe it to be a genuine accident. There were 73 U.S. casualties supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom in the month of December.

Peter Nyren said that the investigation of the accident is not completed, however, it seems to be an accident and not an attack by the insurgents. Nyren was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas. He was due to return from Iraq in February.

"Words can't express how much we loved him and we will treasure him forever," said Peter Nyren.

NATHANIEL NYREN was born in Bristol, Conn. He moved to Reston at the age of 10. "He had a quiet nature, but also a stubborn determination," said Peter Nyren. He added that Nathaniel Nyren was a wonderful son and a fantastic big brother to his three siblings, Jessamy, 28; Natalie, 22, and Peter, 18.

Nathaniel Nyren married Courtney Nyren in 1995, the same year he enlisted in the military. Courtney Nyren gave birth to their only child, Brooke Nyren, now 8 years old, while the two were in Germany.

“Brooke thought of Nathaniel as ‘the best daddy in the world,’” said Courtney Nyren. For Father’s Day, Brooke Nyren sent her father a teddy bear dressed in military fatigues with a recorded voice message from her, “You’re the best daddy in the world. I love you.” Brooke and Nathaniel Nyren had a special relationship, and nobody could get between them, said Courtney Nyren. She added that Brooke is “very strong right now.”

“He was an all around great guy,” said Courtney Nyren, “very quiet and shy, but had tons of friends.” Peter Nyren said that Nathaniel Nyren was active in a variety of ways. He was on the South Lakes wrestling team, as well as the band. He also enjoyed baseball, golf, and football. He graduated from South Lakes in 1991. After South Lakes, he attended Virginia Tech University for a year and a half, and then worked a number of different jobs before joining the military in 1995.

HE SERVED in the military for nine years. He completed basic training at Fort Knox, Ky, and then served in Germany. He returned to the United States, and worked as a recruiter in Pittsburgh, Penn. He divorced Courtney Nyren in 2002, and then married Rebecca Nyren of Pittsburgh in late 2003.

Peter Nyren said that the family is starting up a scholarship fund for Brooke Nyren. However, the details of the fund have not yet been worked out with the bank.

The funeral service for Nathaniel Nyren will be held on Monday, Jan. 10, at Arlington National Cemetery.