Former Hastings man killed in Afghanistan
"Life is too short, why not enjoy it?"
Sgt. Wayne Hosford tried to live his life by those simple words, according to his sister, Michelle Nilson.
Hosford, 35, was killed July 6 while serving in Afghanistan with the Illinois National Guard. The vehicle he was traveling in near Konduz, Afghanistan, was hit by an improvised explosive device. It was Hosford's first deployment to Afghanistan.
Hosford lived in Hastings from 2005 through 2008, when he moved to Illinois. He lived with Nilson when he first moved here, and then got his own place.
Hosford was the second of four kids in his family. He was close to his siblings growing up and always looked out for them, Nilson said. She said he never called her by her first name, but always called her "Sis," and introduced her as such.
Hosford is remembered as someone who loved the outdoors and enjoying camping and hiking. Nilson said he loved the water and enjoyed surfing and waterskiing.
"The ocean was his playground," she said.
He also liked being around friends, whether it was at a bonfire or barbecue.
"He wasn't disliked ever," Hosford's brother, Brad Hosford, said. "Everybody liked and loved him."
Hosford lived with Red Wing resident Troy Beissel for a few months in 2005 at Valley Manor Apartments in Hastings.
"He liked to be around friends, at bonfire parties, and just enjoying the company of friends," Beissel said, speaking through an interpreter.
Hosford met Sheryl Nichols at a mutual friend's barbecue in 2006. The two were very close and Hosford asked her to marry him before he left for Afghanistan.
"He loved to hang out with friends and experience new things," Nichols said in a typed statement. "He was always thinking about his future and was very thoughtful."
Hosford had a 12-year-old son named Tristyn. The two didn't have a strong relationship, but Nilson said part of the reason Hosford went into the military was to get his life in order for his son.
"Everything he was working for and trying to accomplish was for him (Tristyn)," she said.
Hosford loved movies and music. His favorite band was Korn and he'd seen the movie "Transformers" several times. He was looking forward to seeing the sequel, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," when he returned from Afghanistan.
"I remember he always put a movie in when he went to bed to help him sleep," Nichols said. "He was so proud of his huge movie/music collection and spoke of it often."
Hosford graduated from Sage Creek High School, Peyton, Colo., in 1993. He enlisted with the U.S. Marine Corps the same year. In June 2006, Hosford joined the Minnesota Army National Guard as a cavalry scout and then transferred to the Illinois Army National Guard in April 2008, according to a news release. At the time of his death, Hosford was serving with Troop B, 2nd Battalion, 106th Cavalry, 33rd Battalion Combat Team based in Dixon, Ill.
While in Afghanistan, Hosford worked as a gunner on Humvees. Nilson said he was proud of his job. She said he never complained about things like the food, or his living conditions in Afghanistan. Whenever they communicated, whether it was over the phone or via e-mail, Hosford assured her he'd be home safe.
"He always said, 'I'll be fine, don't worry about me,'" Nilson said.
Hastings resident Royal Willis also lived with Hosford for a time in Hastings. Willis said Hosford was someone who would do anything for someone in their time of need.
"He cared about his country and was willing to sacrifice his life for it," he said.
All who talked about Hosford said he will be greatly missed.
A visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 19, at Wise Family Funeral Home, 400 Spring St., Hastings. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, July 20, at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Assembly Area No. 2; call the funeral home at 437-3752 for directions.