Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Army Sgt. 1st Class David J. Hartman

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class David J. Hartman, 27, of Merced, Calif.

SFC David Hartman was assigned to the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Feb. 3, 2010 in Timagara, Pakistan, from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew S. Sluss-Tiller and Army Staff Sgt. Mark A. Stets Jr.

A Pardeeville mother grieves the loss of her son, killed during a roadside attack in Pakistan. He is a man the entire city will miss.

As flags fly in Pardeeville tonight they are waving with a new sadness for all those who knew Staff Sergeant David Hartman.

Friend Gene Kyburz says, "He always made sure he was honorable about what he did and I think that's the one thing I'll remember about him." There is perhaps nothing more honorable than risking your life to serve your country. Ultimately it cost Hartman his life when he was killed during a roadside attack in Pakistan Wednesday.

Kyburz says, "It kind of leaves an empty space under your feet. You kind of don't know how to react to it but my heart is with his mother and the rest of the family."

Hartman's mother, Mikail Bacon, is a well known member of this community. Kyburz is a friend who says he met David about 5 years ago.

He says, "It's pretty tough on her, very tough but she's holding up. She's a strong lady. That's gotta be pretty hard on her she was very proud of him."

As Hartman's mother's home sits quietly in Pardeeville, word is quickly spreading throughout this community. Neighbors have nothing but positive things to say about the man they remember.

Kyburz says, "He was just a very likable young man."

It's an attack no one expected would hit this close to home.

Bacon said she just talked to her son a few days ago. He told her he was delivering food to poor people in the area, so she says he died doing what he loved: helping others.

Hartman's father, Greg Hartman, and stepmother, Kate, live in the Clear Lake Riviera, while his mother, Mikail Bacon, lives in Pardeeville, Wisc. Late Friday their pastor, Victor Rogers, who leads the North Shore Christian Fellowship in Upper Lake, said he just returned from picking the Hartmans up from the Sacramento airport.

He said they had just returned from Delaware, where David Hartman's body had arrived from Pakistan. The young man's body is due to return to California next week, but funeral arrangements are currently undecided.

Hartman and wife, Cherise, have a young son, Michael, and were expecting their second child together.

The United Kingdom's Telegraph newspaper reported that the three deaths were believed to be the first US military deaths to occur in Pakistan. The US Embassy in Islamabad reported that in addition to the deaths of Hartman, Sluss-Tiller and Stets, two other soldiers were injured in the bomb blast, which occurred at around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Rear Adm. Hal Pittman, director of Communication at U.S. Central Command, said the three men and their fellow members of the military were in Pakistan at the request of that country's government. The US military had been invited by the Pakistan Frontier Corps to conduct training in Lower Dir, according to the US Embassy. They were attending the opening of a new girls' school that had been renovated through US humanitarian assistance when the bomb went off. Such schools have become a particular target for insurgents, according to recent press reports.

Pittman said the attack demonstrated “the terrorists' lack of respect for life and their willingness to use violence against women and children for advancing their malign vision.” Along with the military casualties, the US Embassy reported that several Pakistani citizens – among them children – were killed and injured in the blast.

The US Embassy condemned the bombing. “The carnage at the school in Lower Dir clearly shows the terrorists' vision. The United States and Pakistan are partners in fighting terrorism – and our people are working together to build schools,” according to an agency statement.

Both Hartman and Stuss-Tiller were civil affairs senior noncommissioned officers and had previously deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the war on terror, according to a statement from the US Army Special Operations Command.

In November 2002 Hartman deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and in 2004 he supported Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to a Special Forces biography.

"Both Matthew and David are heroes in my mind – they volunteered to come to Army Special Operations and the 95th Civil Affairs Bde. (Airborne), they both believed in what they were doing, and they were committed to helping people in a place where violence against innocent populations was too often commonplace," said Col. Michael J. Warmack, commander, 95th Civil Affairs Bde. "In the pursuit of what they believed, they made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Col. Warmack said the work the men were doing “is terribly important and goes to the heart of strengthening the population’s ability to live free from the stranglehold of extremism.”

The bombing is still under investigation, US Army Special Operations Command reported.

David Hartman was born in Merced in 1982. In 2000 he graduated from Kadena High School on Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, and immediately enlisted into the US Army, according to a Special Forces biography.

While in the Army he had completed a number of courses and served previous assignments including holding the position of platoon sergeant with Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, officials reported.

His biography said that he also served in multiple positions with the 50th Signal Battalion, XVIII Airborne Corps, including as an electronic maintenance shop foreman, forced entry switch section team chief and sergeant, senior electronic maintenance technician and senior switch technician.

Officials reported that Hartman's awards included the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War

Army Sgt. 1st Class David J. Hartman was killed in action on 2/3/10.

1 comment:

Steven Stratford said...

How can I donate money to David Hartman's family? I understand that he will be burried at Arlington National Cemetary and that his family needs financial help to get to the ceremoney.