Saturday, August 07, 2010

Army Spc. Faith R. Hinkley

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Faith R. Hinkley, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Spc. Hinkley was assigned to 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; died Aug. 7, 2010 in Baghdad, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked her unit in Iskandariya, Iraq.

She was a former high school cheerleader described by her grandmother as sweet and gentle. She also was an Army specialist in the highly secretive field of gathering human intelligence.

Spc. Faith R. Hinkley, 23, who came to Joint Base Lewis-McChord two years ago, died Saturday after insurgents attacked her unit in Iraq, the Department of Defense announced Monday.

Hinkley, who hailed from southwestern Colorado, died in Baghdad of wounds she suffered in Iskandariya, about 30 miles south of the Iraqi capital. She was on her first deployment.

Hinkley, a 2006 graduate of Monte Vista High School, attended the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs for a year before she enlisted, according to her cousin, Dakota Hoffmann of Colorado Springs.

The Defense Department said she died in Baghdad after her unit was targeted by insurgents 25 miles to the south in Iskandariya, the site of an Army forward operating base.

Family members were told that Hinkley was the victim of a rocket-propelled grenade an insurgent fired into her base, Hoffman said. “The sirens came on, and she was running for cover and she was hit by shrapnel,” Hoffmann said.

Hoffmann grew up with Hinkley in Monte Vista and described her cousin as someone who always had a positive outlook and a smile.

"It's very rare you'd catch her not smiling," said Hoffmann. "She was so positive about everything. It's really rare you meet someone in life like that."

Spread across more than 30 sites in Iraq, the brigade’s mission includes coordinating spying from human sources, intercepting cell phone and other electronic messages, doing counterintelligence activities, managing Arabic linguists, and monitoring and targeting enemy positions, among other duties.

Hinkley’s military occupational specialty was listed as human intelligence collector. According to unit records, she enlisted in the Army in August 2007. After basic training followed by training in her occupational specialty, she reported to Lewis-McChord in August 2008.

Hinkley’s death shows the continuing exposure of U.S. forces in Iraq, even as thousands of Lewis-McChord troops are in the final stages of returning from that country and as the Obama administration focuses U.S. military policy on Afghanistan.

It also shows that modern warfare knows no gender lines.

Hinkley is the eighth Lewis-McChord soldier reported to have died in Iraq this year. Three of those eight were women.

The family of a fallen solider went to retrieve the flag-draped coffin of their daughter from Dover Air Force Base on Monday.

The family says Faith Hinkley died in a rocket attack outside of her base near Baghdad. Hinkley was a graduate of Monte Vista High School in the San Luis Valley, and was 23 years old.

Hinkley was a part of the Army's 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade out of For Lewis in Washington. She was 10 and a half months into her first tour, and was a little more than a month away from coming home, according to her family.

“You couldn’t find a sweeter, gentler person than she was,” her grandmother, Leona Edwards, told the Gazette. In addition to her grandmother, she is survived by her parents, David and Annavee Hinkley, a brother, Matthew, and a sister, Shannon.

Army Spc. Faith R. Hinkley was killed in action on 8/7/10.


Anonymous said...

It touched me that such a precious, young lady, younger then myself passed away in that woeful place.


I love her very much...