An Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Ward on April 8 at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Ward of Oak Ridge, Tenn., died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (Alex Brandon / AP)
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A soldier from Florida who also has family in Tennessee was among six Americans killed in Afghanistan over the weekend in the deadliest day for the U.S. in eight months in the country, a family member said.
Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations says the body of Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Ward, whose hometown is listed as Oak Ridge, Tenn., is due to arrive at Dover Air Force Base on Monday.
A foreign service officer, a Department of Defense civilian and three soldiers were killed in one attack Saturday, but the Pentagon hasn’t released names of the soldiers or the civilian. Anne Smedinghoff was the first American diplomat to die on the job since last year’s attack in Benghazi, Libya. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the suicide car bombing that occurred while the Americans were delivering textbooks to school children.
A separate attack in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday killed another U.S. civilian.
Ward, who was 24, was one of the soldiers providing a security escort for the diplomat to deliver the books to the school, said his grandmother, Nancy Ward.
“It’s bad enough to be killed in action, but when you are trying to do something good, it seems like a double slap in the face,” Nancy Ward said Monday.
Ward grew up in Arcadia, Fla., and stayed with his grandparents to finish high school at Desoto County High School when his mother moved to Oak Ridge, Nancy Ward said.
She said Ward could not wait to be a soldier and was heavily involved in the ROTC program at his high school.
“He had his mind made up that the Army was going to be his future,” she said.
She said his mother, Joyce Ward, was at the Dover Air Force Base on Monday to accept his casket. Nancy Ward said she was notified about his death by one of his brothers, Matthew Ward, who lives in Oak Ridge.