Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Army Sgt. 1st Class Keith A. Callahan

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class Keith A. Callahan, 31, of McClure, Pa.

SFC Callahan was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Jan. 24 of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was conducting a combat patrol south of Baghdad. --An 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper was killed south of Baghdad when a roadside bomb was detonated near him, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.

He is the first soldier killed since the 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq as part of the surge of troops meant to secure the Iraqi capital.

Sgt. 1st Class Keith A. Callahan, 31, a platoon sergeant with 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, was covering his men at a road crossing when he was killed, 82nd officials said.

"Keith Callahan’s death is a tragic loss to our Task Force, and our thoughts and prayers go to Sgt. 1st Class Callahan’s family," said Lt. Col. Ross E. Davidson, 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment.

The announcement comes as fighting rages between U.S. and Iraqi forces and insurgents in Baghdad.

Callahan is survived by his wife, Dody; sons, Devin and Brady; his daughter, Brooke; and a stepson, Tyler.

The family declined to speak to reporters Thursday but did release a statement through the 82nd Airborne Division.

"Please respect our privacy as we try to gather up the pieces of our broken hearts and carry on our lives in Keith’s name," his wife, Dody, said in the statement. She said her husband was a husband, father and a true American hero.

"Keith loved his soldiers and his dedication to duty lasted to the end shown by the fact that he gave his life to protect his soldiers," Dody Callahan said in the statement. "He would now want his soldiers to bravely forge ahead in this mission and continue his legacy."

Callahan was from McClure, Pa. He joined the Army in 1996 and joined the 82nd Airborne Division in October 2001.

Callahan won two Fort Bragg boxing titles, earning the nickname "Bam-Bam" Callahan, his family said. This was his fourth deployment to Iraq. His military awards and decorations include the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star medal.

A memorial service will be held for him in Iraq, 82nd officials said.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Keith A. Callahan was killed in action on 1/24/07.

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