First Lt. Derwin Williams and Spc. Chester Hosford were killed July 6 when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Kandu, Afghanistan. ()
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Three members of the Illinois Army National Guard died this week in northern Afghanistan, two in a roadside bomb attack Monday, and the third in a similar attack Tuesday.
All were members of the guard's 33rd Infantry Brigade, a group of about 3,000 soldiers that has had 17 deaths during a yearlong deployment scheduled to end early this fall.
First Lt. Derwin Williams, 41, of Glenwood and Spc. Chester Hosford, 35, of Ottawa died Monday when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Konduz, according to the Guard.
On Tuesday, Spec. Christopher Talbert, 24, of Galesburg, died in an attack near Shinbad.
"The deployment of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team has been tough on all of us, especially on the families of these heroes," Maj. Gen. William Enyart, adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard, said in a printed statement.
Williams worked as a correctional officer with the Cook County Sheriff's Office. He'd served in Iraq for one year in 2004 and was slated to return from his tour in Afghanistan in August, his wife said. Williams also is survived by two stepdaughters, ages 18 and 22; two daughters, who are 9 and 19; and an 8-year-old son.
Hosford, who the Guard says also was due home around August, was a former Marine on his first National Guard deployment. He graduated from Sage Creek High School, in Peyton, Colo., in 1993. He was single.
Talbert, too, was single and on his first deployment. He was a 2003 graduate of Galesburg Christian High School.
He wrote on his MySpace page that he'd been home on leave in late May and early June. On Wednesday, the page included more than a dozen notes of condolence.
"Good Night Talby ... know you'll be missed," one friend wrote.
The 33rd Infantry Brigade started moving into Afghanistan last August, training Afghan police and military across the country. Attacks resulting in multiple deaths and injuries haven't been uncommon.
In March, three brigade members died in a roadside bomb attack — Spc. Norman Cain III, 22, of Mount Morris; Sgt. Christopher Abeyta, 23, of Midlothian; and Sgt. Robert Weinger, 24, of Round Lake Beach.
Thirty-two members of the Illinois Guard have been killed since the U.S. went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.