Thursday, June 21, 2007

Army Sgt. Dustin J. Perrott

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Dustin J. Perrott, 23, of Fredericksburg, Va.

Sgt. Perrott was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died June 21, 2007 in Miri, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

N.C.-based paratrooper dies after bomb explodes in Afghanistan
The Associated Press

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A soldier based in North Carolina has died from injuries he suffered when a bomb exploded in Afghanistan, the military announced June 22.

Sgt. Dustin Perrott, 23, of Fredericksburg, Va., died June 21 after the explosion near Miri. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg.

Perrott is survived by his wife, Anna Marie Perrott, who lives in Fayetteville.

Perrott, who joined the Army in March 2004, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and other military decorations, according to the 82nd Airborne.

“You just couldn’t help but smile when you talked to him. He will be sorely missed by all of us who knew him, and our thoughts are with his family during their time of grief,” said Lt. Col. Timothy McAteer, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

Final roll call honors 45th soldier killed in Afghanistan this year
By Jason Straziuso
The Associated Press

FORWARD OPERATING BASE GHAZNI, Afghanistan — Sgt. Dustin Perrott’s boots lay beneath an American flag lowered to half-staff as members of his company gave a final salute.

Perrott’s first sergeant barked out his squad’s roll call, shouting the fallen soldier’s name three times into the still evening air. When the 23-year-old did not answer, a 21-gun salute shattered the silence. A bugler played taps.

“We place so much on the shoulders of men like Sergeant Perrott, and as his commander I’m glad he chose to serve,” Lt. Col. Timothy McAteer, Perrott’s battalion commander, told the several hundred soldiers gathered at the ceremony June 23. “We must never let our nation forget his sacrifice.”

Perrott became the 45th U.S. soldier to die in Afghanistan this year when the Humvee he was riding in through the southern province of Ghazni on June 21 was hit by a roadside bomb. Perrott, riding in the right rear seat, died from head injuries.

It was the fourth roadside bomb to explode in Ghazni in four days. U.S. soldiers here are participating in the first operation planned and led by the Afghan army, an effort to push Taliban fighters out of this region and establish security and government for the first time in years.

Called “Dusty” by the men in his company, the Virginia man volunteered to go to Iraq in December 2004. He had been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and a Purple Heart. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

The roar from two Black Hawk helicopters that brought in the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, washed out the first minutes of the ceremony, held under a fading sun.

When the helicopters pulled away, sniffles from soldiers standing at attention could be heard.

Spc. Clinton Vance, a friend, quoted the Book of Isaiah: “The path I have chosen for you is this, to loosen the bonds of wickedness.”

“He volunteered to leave his house and his wife to let those oppressed go free,” Vance said.

A soldier played “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes as soldiers wept. The men and women of the battalion filed past Perrott’s boots, rifle and helmet. One knelt, another made the sign of the cross.

“It’s a great way to say goodbye to a brave hero,” Rodriguez said afterward, tears welling in his eyes. As the commanding general of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, he attends almost every memorial ceremony.

As the last rays of light faded, soldiers from Perrott’s company gathered for a final photo in front of his gear.

A giant reconnaissance blimp that had been lowered for the ceremony rose into the air to survey the base’s surroundings. Diesel generators roared back to life, spewing acrid smoke into the sky. Soldiers walked away in silence, returning to their tasks.

Army Sgt. Dustin J. Perrott was killed in action on 6/21/07.

Dustin Perrott

Dustin Perrott back

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