Nathaniel J. Nyren – Staff Sergeant, United States Army

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1333-04
Dec 30, 2004

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Staff Sergeant Nathaniel J. Nyren, 31, from Reston, Virginia, died in Baghdad, Iraq on Dec. 28, when a civilian vehicle struck his military vehicle. Nyren was assigned to the Army’s 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas.

Second South Lakes grad killed in Iraq

By Lise Hausrath Simmons
4 January 2005


Army Staff Sergeant Nathaniel J. Nyren, 31, of Reston, Virginia, remembered as a kind and gentle soul who especially loved his little girl, was killed in Iraq on Tuesday, December 28, 2004.

According to the Department of Defense, Nyren, a 1991 graduate of South Lakes High School, died after a civilian car struck his military vehicle in Baghdad.

His father, Peter Nyren, of Reston, said his son was leading a convoy of vehicles when a car driven by a 16-year-old Iraqi boy rounded a corner too fast and barreled into the side of Nathaniel's Humvee. The military vehicle rolled over, and “Nathaniel struck his head on something, I'm not sure what. He died instantly,” his father said.

Nyren, who was a high school wrestler and played the saxaphone and clarinet in the band, was assigned to the Army's 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

He was born in Bristol, Conn., on March 5, 1973, and was raised in Reston. After graduating from South Lakes High School, he attended college at Virginia Tech for a year and a half, his father said.

He dropped out “to help make ends meet,” Peter Nyren said, adding that his son joined the Army in 1995 “primarily because he was looking for some direction at that time. He needed a little stability in his life.”

He married first wife Courtney Nyren in 1995 and went through basic training at Fort Knox. He and his family were stationed in Germany for three years, though he spent about six months of that time as a peacekeeper in Macedonia, his father said.

Nyren was a squad leader when he died.

He was divorced in 2002 and married again, this time to Rebecca Nyren, in late 2003.

Liz Knapp, the longtime receptionist at South Lakes, recalled Nyren as “a nice, quiet young man.”

Samuel Baird, his former biology teacher and wrestling coach, said he admired Nyren when he was a student at the school.

“He was a very friendly and warm person,” Baird recalled, adding that “he was a very dedicated young man” and that he was sure “that carried over when he went into the service.”

Peter Nyren said his son was “just a really good kid” who was “very kind and gentle.”

Nyren is survived by his first wife, Courtney; his second wife, Rebecca; as well as his daughter, 8-year-old Brooke, from his first marriage. In addition to his father, he also is survived by his stepmother, Julie Nyren, of Reston; and his mother, Susan Kimmel, of Norman, Oklhoma.

Nyren also leaves behind several sisters and brothers, as well as his grandparents.

His first wife, Courtney, said Nathaniel and his daughter, Brooke, “had a tight bond that nobody else could share. She was daddy's little girl for a long time.”

Adding that Brooke “really misses him,” Courtney said, “we were lucky enough for her to talk to him on Christmas day.”

The family will receive friends on Sunday, January 9, 2005, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Adams-Green Funeral Home in Herndon.

He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with military honors on Monday, January 10, 2005.

The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Nathaniel J. Nyren Memorial Fund, c/o Northwest Federal Credit Union, P.O. Box 1229, Herndon, Virginia 20172.

Nathaniel Nyren, South Lakes Grad, Dies in Iraq

Soldier killed in car accident
Mirza Kurspahic
January 6, 2005

“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, December 28, 2004, 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, Connecticut. 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, January 10, at Arlington National Cemetery.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 03/05/1973
  • DATE OF DEATH: 12/28/2004



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