Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Army Maj. Tad T. Hervas

Remember Our Heroes

Army Maj. Tad T. Hervas, 48, of Coon Rapids, Minn.

Major Hervas was assigned to the 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota National Guard, Rosemont, Minn.; died Oct. 6, 2009 at Contingency Operating Base Basra, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a noncombat-related incident.

BASRA, Iraq - A spokesman with the Minnesota National Guard in Basra, Iraq says a Coon Rapids soldier who died earlier this month was found with a gunshot to his head.

Maj. Tad T. Hervas, 48, died Oct. 6 at an Army base in Basra of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation ad no official cause of death has been released.

Hervas was assigned to the 34th Infantry Regiment out of Rosemount, Minn. This was Hervas' second deployment to Iraq with the Minnesota National Guard

Star Tribune -- This was supposed to be the safe one for Tad Hervas.

Working from the relative safety of a secure building on a heavily guarded base in Iraq after previous deployments that had put him in the center of battle, Hervas nevertheless became one of a growing number of Minnesota soldiers to die of what the Army calls "non-combat-related injuries" or on protected bases.

"He came back from so many things. This time we didn't have a clue that we should be worried, but as it turned out ..." said Hervas' father, Ned, his voice trailing off.

Adding to the pain that followed the surprise visit of Army officials to the family home in Coon Rapids last week, the cause of death so far remains a mystery, as the Army remains close-lipped about its investigation.

In a previous deployment to Iraq, Hervas, a major in the Minnesota National Guard, was stationed at an Iraqi oil refinery south of Baghdad. His unit kicked in a door and found a member of Saddam Hussein's secret police. During a sectarian skirmish in one of the neighborhoods he patrolled, a mosque was bombed that left the bodies of women and children strewn on the street.

This time, Hervas, who earned a Bronze Star during his first deployment with the Guard, was supposed to remain largely on base in the safer region of southern Iraq, conducting intelligence work from a secure building. It was a rewarding assignment and far less dangerous as things go in a war zone.

But since December 2007, four of the last nine Minnesota fatalities in Iraq have not died in combat. That included the death of Staff Sgt. Todd Selge, of Burnsville. Like Hervas, Selge saw considerable action in a previous deployment. He had survived being wounded in a gunfight and was given a Purple Heart, only to die during his second deployment when his eight-wheeled armored combat vehicle dropped 60 feet from a bridge.

Ned Hervas said his son was upbeat about his current assignment returning to Iraq, where he analyzed military intelligence. About 1,000 members of the Minnesota National Guard are serving a one-year deployment at a base in southern Iraq, where they are in charge of roughly 16,000 multinational forces as well as Iraqi security forces.

Army Maj. Tad T. Hervas was killed in a noncombat related incident on 10/06/09.

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