An Antioch High School graduate has been killed in Afghanistan, becoming the third Antioch graduate killed serving in the Middle East since 2005.
Spc. Andrew P. Wade, 22, of Antioch died March 9 in Kunduz province as a result of a "noncombat-related incident," which occurred on March 7, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Thursday. A family friend of Wade said he was injured a day before he was scheduled to return home.
No other information was provided about how he was killed.
Wade was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.
He joined the Army in September 2008 and was deployed in spring 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, according to the Department of Defense.
The young soldier is being remembered as a star athlete at Antioch High School, where he graduated from in 2007 before joining the military. He was named to the Daily Herald All-Area team for soccer in 2006.
"We often time talk about the player on the team that is the first one there and the last one to leave, and that was Andrew," said Jorge Anduray, who coached Wade for five years. "He talked about the sport day and night."
Anduray said he had been in touch with Wade since he enlisted in the Army and spoke with him in late December 2010, the last time Wade was home with his family.
"He was quiet about how his military career was going," Anduray said. "I know he thought it was a good thing for him. He felt strong about what he was doing and the purpose behind it."
Anduray, who coached Wade during his senior year at Antioch and four years before for the Chicago Kickers Soccer Club, said Wade was excited to come home and continue playing for the club team.
"Coming home meant seeing his family, friends and playing soccer. Those were the most important things to him," Anduray said. "He was certainly popular with his peers at school and with the club. We were talking about reuniting and kicking the ball around."
Mayor Larry Hanson said "it saddens the town" when a young soldier from Antioch is killed in the line of duty.
"Anytime you lose a young community member, it's really sad," he said. "We certainly appreciate he did his duty to protect and serve our country. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family."
He said he will meet with village staffers and Antioch High School officials to determine what memorials the village can perform in Wade's honor.
"We will look at what we can do," Hanson said. "We have done things in the past, so I'm positive this time will be no different." Antioch Community High School District 117 co-Superintendent Mike Nekritz said many teachers at Antioch High School were saddened by the news of Wade's death.
"He was a great kid and a lot of people are grieving today at the news of his passing," Nekritz said.
Nekritz served as principal of Antioch High School when Wade was a senior.
"It's truly tragic," he added. "I have a hard time comprehending on why it happened, and that's something we are all dealing with. Our heart truly goes out to his family and friends. It's sad that he was taken at such a young age."
Wade is the third soldier with ties to the Antioch area to have been killed overseas. Ben Jansky was killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2005, and Richard "Joe" Jordan was killed in Iraq five years later.
Wade's awards and decorations include the NATO medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
He is survived by his mother and father.