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Army Pvt. Adam J. Novak

Died August 27, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

20, of Prairie du Sac, Wis.; assigned to 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Aug. 27 in the Dzardan district of Paktya province of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Spc. Chad D. Coleman.

Wis. soldier killed in Afghanistan

The Associated Press

SAUK CITY, Wis. — A Wisconsin soldier was killed while serving in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Monday.

Pvt. Adam Novak, 20, of Prairie du Sac, was killed Friday in the Dzardan district of Afghanistan, the Defense Department said. He had been serving in the 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division, based at Ft. Campbell, Ky.

The military said Novak was one of two soldiers killed when insurgents attacked their vehicle with a roadside bomb in Paktiya, Afghanistan. The other was Spc. Chad D. Coleman, 20, of Moreland, Ga.

"All we know is he was in a heavily armored vehicle and he hit a road bomb," said Novak's stepfather, Rick Block. "They think it was electronically detonated, and they said that's all they know until it's investigated."

Novak was a 2008 graduate of Sauk Prairie High School, according to family friend Sandy Richards of Fergus Falls, Minn. Novak and his family had lived in Fergus Falls for about 11 years before he and his family moved back to Wisconsin in 2008, Richards said.

Novak is survived by his wife, Celeste Stuessy Novak, of Prairie du Sac; his mother, Sue Block, of Prairie du Sac; two sisters; and two brothers

Novak came home one day and told his family he had joined the Army, Block said. While Novak didn't discuss his decision with his family beforehand, Block added that he didn't discourage his stepson from enlisting.

"We worried about him every day, but I think the military is good for some people, and I'm a believer in the cause. We gave him our blessing and kept our fingers crossed," Block said.

Richards said Novak's mother is devastated and noted his brother Logan Novak, 23, also is serving in Afghanistan.

Block said Logan had arrived in Afghanistan just a week ago, and was sent home after they got the news. Block said he didn't want to talk about the prospect of the older brother returning to Afghanistan after the funeral.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

Richards said Adam, who worked on military trucks, had a lot of connections in Fergus Falls, in part because he was involved in Boy Scouts and played soccer in the northwestern Minnesota town.

"He was a very kind, loving boy," Richards said. "He always thought of others, always."

Richards was Novak's Sunday school teacher in Fergus Falls.

"He was a dream kid to teach, very intelligent, he caught on," she said.

Adam's father died in 2002. After his mother remarried the family moved back to Wisconsin, where Adam finished his senior year of high school, Richards said.

After taking a year off, Adam enlisted in the Army. He was "really pumped about it and proud to do it," Richards said. Logan joined shortly afterward.

Adam Novak met his future wife while completing his basic training. They got married in March, surprising his family, Richards said. They had planned to hold a formal wedding ceremony in November when Novak was scheduled to return to Wisconsin.

"He was very respectful," said Richards, who said she drove all night to visit Adam's mother in Wisconsin after the family was notified of his death. "He's the kind of person you want for a best friend."

Flags to fly at half-staff to honor Wis. soldier

The Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Jim Doyle has ordered U.S. and Wisconsin flags to fly at half-staff honor a Wisconsin soldier killed in Afghanistan last month.

All state and federal government buildings as well as Wisconsin National Guard armories, air bases and other facilities must comply on Saturday to honor 20-year-old Pvt. Adam Novak of Prairie du Sac.

Novak, who served in the 101st Airborne Division, was killed in the Paktya province on Aug. 27 when an improvised explosive device blew up near his vehicle. Spc. Chad Coleman, who grew up in the Milwaukee area, was killed in the same incident.

The governor also has ordered flags be flown at half-staff Saturday in remembrance of Patriot Day, a national day to remember the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Army Pvt. Adam J. Novak

The Associated Press

Adam Novak had been full of surprises for his family during the past two years.

He joined the Army in 2009 without first discussing it with them, then came home one day and broke the news, his stepfather, Rick Block, said.

Novak met his future wife, Celeste, during basic training, and they surprised his family by marrying in March. They were planning a formal ceremony for autumn before Novak was killed.

The 20-year-old from Prairie du Sac, Wis., died Aug. 27 of wounds from an improvised explosive device in Paktya province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Campbell.

The 2008 Sauk Prairie High School graduate grew up in Fergus Falls, Minn., where he was a Boy Scout and played soccer and frisbee.

He was respectful, witty and a good conversationalist — “the kind of person you want for a best friend,” his former Sunday school teacher, Sandy Richards, said.

Novak was the youngest of five children, including a brother who also served in Afghanistan.

“He always had a great attitude and wasn’t afraid to jump in and do hard things,” his sister Brooke Warren said.

Survivors include Novak’s mother, Sue, and his two brothers and two sisters.

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