South Shore grad killed in Afghanistan
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A South Tahoe High School graduate was killed while serving in Afghanistan this week.
Spc. Garrett Fant, 21, died Monday after his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device in Helmand province, according to a Thursday statement from the U.S. Department of Defense.
Fant died of his wounds after he was taken to Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan.
Fant was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 4th Calvary Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, according to the statement. The division is based in Fort Riley, Kan.
This was his first deployment.
The release from the Department of Defense lists Fant’s hometown as American Canyon, Calif., near Napa.
His mother, Julia Towle Farrell, works at Affordable Construction Services in Christmas Valley, said owner Beth Lee. Fant’s Facebook page says he is a 2008 graduate of South Tahoe High School.
“He was just a really sweet kid,” Lee said. “He was a very gentle, soft-spoken person.”
Lee recalled how Fant would come into her office and say how he was thinking about her, even though he knew Lee only through his mother’s job. Fant was “real close” to his family, Lee said, adding he was perpetually worried about an sick grandmother.
Fant had wanted to become a teacher after staying with the Army until he turned 40, Lee said.
Tributes to Fant began pouring into his Facebook page about 6 p.m. Monday. One friend said Fant always put him in a good mood and “had one of the biggest hearts out of anyone I knew.”
Fant said he was planning on returning to the South Shore in his last post on the social networking site. The post was made at 10:11 p.m. Sept. 19. In a response to a friend’s comment, Fant posted “Hah, sometime around Feb I’ll be back in Lake Tahoe spending time with everyone.”
Fant is the third soldier with local ties to be killed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
U.S. Army Sgt. Timothy M. Smith, 25, died April 7, 2008 after his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad. Smith was a lifelong resident of South Lake Tahoe.
Pfc. Phillip Brandon Williams, 21, was killed Oct. 9, 2006 by sniper fire while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Williams was the son of South Lake Tahoe Police Sgt. Brad Williams and spent much of his childhood at the South Shore before moving to Carson Valley.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.