Friday, June 10, 2011

The fallen

This week, 6 US soldiers have died in Iraq. 5 died on Monday, 1 died Wednesday. OzarksFirst (link has text and video) reports that Pfc Matthew J. England was the soldier who died Wednesday "when an IED exploded near the military vehicle he was driving" and is survivors included mother Pamela Hengen and father Daniel England. The Ozark County Times runs a photo of Matthew England.

The five who died on Monday were finally identified by the Defense Dept yesterday:

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of five soldiers who were supporting Operation New Dawn. They died June 6 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with indirect fire. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Field artillery Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
Killed were:
Spc. Emilio J. Campo Jr., 20, of Madelia, Minn.;
Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr., 27, of Middletown, Ohio;
Spc. Christopher B. Fishbeck, 24, of Victoville, Calif.;
Spc. Robert P. Hartwick, 20, of Rockbridge, Ohio; and
Pfc. Michael C. Olivieri, 26, Chicago, Ill.
For more information, the media may contact the 1st Infantry Division public affairs office at 785-240-6359 or 785-307-0641.

Jim Woods and Randy Ludlow (Columbus Dispatch)report on 20-year-old Robert Hartwick whose survivors include Linda Hartwick (mother) and Robert A. Hartwick (father) and two sisters. He was on his first tour of duty in Iraq. His mother remembers him as someone who loved to fix things starting with a go cart when he was 5-years-old and who didn't "hunt because he could 'never hurt any animal'." The Chillicothe Gazette adds that he "was a combat medic and had joined the Army in June 2009."

And making it back to the United States alive does not necessarily mean making it to safety. Pat Doyle (Star Tribune) reports on Lt Comd Jim Pierce:

Pierce tended to Iraqis in the Iraq war with the same care he gave wounded Americans. But those who knew him well say he never recovered from the experience -- especially the sight of severely injured children -- and returned stateside traumatized, depressed and suicidal.
"He was blown up psychologically," said a sister, Amy Bursch of Foley, Minn.
Pierce, 52, a retired officer, died May 23 at his home in Goodview, Va. Authorities have not ruled on a cause of death; a medical examiner said it is under investigation.
Memorial services will be held Saturday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Bird Island.

Jim Pierce was a member of the Navy and may or may not have taken his own life but for those who are struggling with that issue, the Army notes these resources:

WLOX reports on Iraq War veteran Gene Dufree who, as part of the Mississippi National Guard's 1556h Charlie Company, deployed to Iraq in 2005. Five soldiers he served with died in Iraq. He remembers, "These were great guys. Husbands, brothers, great outstanding people. It leaves an emptiness in you that you will never overcome. [. . .] Knowing what I had been through, I prayed to God that those guys did not have to endure what we had to go through."

The following community sites -- plus and Military Famlies Speak Out --updated last night and this morning:

The e-mail address for this site is

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends