Saturday, April 16, 2011

Army Spc. Paul J. Atim

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Paul J. Atim, 27, of Green Bay, Wis.

Spc Atim was assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died of wounds suffered April 16, 2011 in Nimroz province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Spc. Charles J. Wren and Pfc. Joel A. Ramirez.

Twenty-seven-year-old Paul Atim, who spent some time in Green Bay, died Saturday with two other soldiers when insurgents attacked them with an explosive device.

In response to Atim's death, Governor Walker issued a statement Tuesday:

"Wisconsin is extraordinaily grateful for the service of Specialist Atim. His loss of life is a stern reminder of the sacrifices that those in the armed forces make for us every day. Our deepest condolences go out to his friends and family."

The director of UWGB's International Education program, Brent Blahnik, said:

"Paul came to the United States from Uganda in pursuit of a better life and shortly afterward joined the military to serve the country he loved. I think I speak for the entire university in extending condolences to his family and friends."

The soldiers were part of a unit out of Fort Drum, New York.

Atim's journey was filled with challenges from the start.

Specialist Atim was born into poverty and violence. Growing up in a hillside community just outside Uganda's capital, Atim, as he was known, and his four brothers were raised by their mother who worked as a maid after their father died.

For 15 years, Atim was sponsored by two families -- one in the U.S., the other in Canada -- through Compassion International.

"Somebody like him would have been exposed to a lot of HIV, AIDS, would have been exposed to a lot of different kinds of infections, a lot of different health issues," Compassion International's Kathy Redmond said.

It's believed Atim came to the U.S. some time in 2005. he studied at UW-Green Bay for two semesters then joined the U.S. Army in November, 2006.

He deployed for his first tour in Afghanistan in 2009. This tour was his second.

"It's heartbreaking because we work so hard with these kids to release them from poverty and to pull them out of the violence that they know, and he definitely was not the exception. He knew a lot of violence growing up because of the area that he was in," Redmond said.

Atim leaves behind his family in Uganda and a child.

His complete connection to Green Bay is not entirely clear.

The Department of Defense says Atim was decorated with two Army Achievement Medals, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon.

Army Spc. Paul J. Atim was killed in action on 4/16/11.

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