DUPONT—A DuPont resident and former Fort Lewis soldier was one of seven U.S. intelligence agents killed by a suicide bomber who infiltrated a base in Afghanistan last week, his widow said Tuesday.
The Tacoma News Tribune reports Dane Clark Paresi, a retired Army master sergeant, died Dec. 30 in the blast at a forward military base in Khost province, on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Paresi, 46, retired from 1st Special Forces Group at Fort Lewis in 2008, capping 27 years in the Army, and was working as a contractor alongside CIA employees when he was killed, according to family and friends.
Paresi's family has made its home in DuPont since 2005. The Portland native is survived by his wife, MindyLou, and daughters Alexandra, 24, and Santina, 9, as well as his parents and five siblings.
MindyLou Paresi was at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Tuesday after meeting the flag-draped coffins of her husband and the other fallen operatives.
A small private ceremony Monday was attended by CIA Director Leon Panetta, other agency and national security officials, and friends and family.
Official details of the suicide attack are sketchy, and the incident is under investigation. But counterterrorism officials in the Middle East said Tuesday the bomber, a Jordanian, was a suspected double agent.
Jordan's intelligence directorate, which also lost an operative in the attack, reportedly believed it had recruited the physician-turned-militant to help track down al-Qaida's No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahri.
The would-be informant came to the base Dec. 30 on urgent business, according to wire service reports. It was the deadliest single attack on U.S. intelligence personnel in decades.
MindyLou Paresi said she was told her husband was at the meeting inside the military compound and suspected something was wrong.
When he approached, the informant detonated his explosives. She said her husband was right next to the bomber, the closest person to the blast.
A wake is set for 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Vancouver, followed by services at 10 a.m. Saturday, and full military honors and burial at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. Paresi's death adds to the list of Northwesterners to die trying to secure Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001.
A total of 61 service members from Washington state or assigned from military installations around the state have died there - 36 in the last year alone, mostly from Fort Lewis. In a way, Paresi brings the sacrifice full circle.
The explosion that killed him took place at Forward Operating Base Chapman, named for Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Chapman of Puyallup. He died on Jan. 4, 2002 - the war's first casualty - and also belonged to 1st Special Forces Group.