Saturday, July 26, 2003

Army Specialist Jonathan P. Barnes

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Jonathan P. Barnes, 21, Anderson, Mo.

Spc. Barnes was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; killed July 26 as a result of a grenade being thrown from a window of an Iraqi civilian hospital he was helping guard in Baqubah, Iraq.

Spc. Jonathan P. Barnes wanted what was best for his family, and figured the military was the best way to accomplish that. He took law enforcement classes in the service and hoped to eventually become a state trooper.

“He wanted to find a way to better his education and also support his family better,” said his sister, Kim Riley. “He chose to join the military. He thought, that way, not only would he have housing for them but that he would be a better provider.”

Barnes, 21, died July 26 in a grenade attack while guarding a hospital in Iraq. He was based at Fort Hood, and is survived by his wife, Amanda, and 2-year-old daughter.

“He wrote several letters and always said there was nothing to worry about,” Riley said. “He asked every time about his house because we were to take care of the grass and the bills. And he always asked about family.”

— Associated Press

Coweta soldier killed in Iraqi grenade attack

Associated Press

COWETA, Okla. — An Oklahoma soldier is among three U.S. servicemen killed in a grenade attack in Iraq.

Spc. Jonathan Paul Barnes, 21, died July 26 while guarding a children’s hospital in Baqoubau, 45 miles northeast of Baghdad, said Kim Riley, Barnes’ sister.

Barnes was a member of the 4th Infantry Division, his sister said.

“What are the odds that out of the whole the 4th Infantry, one of the three (killed) would be him?” Riley said.

She heard news of the attack the day it happened, and military officials notified her family of Barnes’ death a day later, Riley said.

Barnes and two other soldiers were killed after a grenade was thrown from a window of an Iraqi civilian hospital, according to a statement from the Department of Defense.

“He was assigned to the children’s hospital because they were storing weapons there,” Riley said.

Barnes was born in Muskogee and attended school in Coweta. The married father of a 2-year-old girl, joined the military after a recruiting visit to Joplin, Mo., and underwent basic training in Fort Benning, Ga., Riley said.

Barnes served in Korea and Kuwait before being sent to Iraq.

He had taken law enforcement classes while in the military and wanted to become a state trooper, Riley said.

“He wanted to find a way to better his education and also support his family better,” Riley said. “He chose to join the military. He thought that way, not only would he have housing for them but that he would be a better provider.”

Barnes’ wife has requested that Barnes be buried in a cemetery in Anderson, Mo., Riley said.

Barnes is believed to be the first person from Coweta to have died in Iraq.

Army Specialist Jonathan P. Barnes was killed in action on 07/26/03.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Army Capt. Paul J. Cassidy

Remember Our Heroes

Army Capt. Paul J. Cassidy, 36, of Laingsburg, Mich.

Capt. Cassidy was assigned to the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion in Wis.; died July 13, 2003 as a result of non-combat injuries at Camp Babylon, Iraq.

Paul J. Cassidy had made a life out of helping people in troubled regions. His mission to Iraq with the Army Reserves was similar to previous duties in Kosovo, Bosnia and Kuwait, where he distributed food and blankets and helped reconstruct power grids, improve phone lines, re-establish farms, provide water and repair houses.

“He was basically in there to help people, doing humanitarian deeds, the nice things,” said Meridian Township, Mich., clerk Mary Helmbrecht.

Cassidy, 36, of Laingsburg, Mich., died July 13 as a result of non-combat injuries in Iraq.

Helmbrecht said Cassidy’s involvement with the humanitarian aspects of war and his dedication to his work reflected his personality.

“He had an outstanding dry wit,” she said. “He was just an incredibly dedicated, detail-oriented, phenomenal employee.”

— Associated Press

A July 18 memorial service for a Michigan soldier who died in Iraq promised to bring his unit — 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion — closer together.

According to the Department of Defense, Capt. Paul J. Cassidy, 36, of Laingsburg, Mich. died July 13 from non-combat injuries in Camp Babylon, Iraq. His death is still being investigated, said Ben Abel, public affairs liaison for the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“Our unit is running the gamut of emotions. Shock, mostly a lot of sadness,” Maj. Jeff Ponkratz of Green Bay wrote in an e-mail to the Green Bay Press-Gazette on Wednesday. “It’s safe to say this has made us appreciate each other and has pulled us together.”

Ponkratz said members of the unit scattered across Southern Iraq will attend Friday’s service. The 432nd is made up of reservists from around the Great Lakes region.

Cassidy, a graduate of Ripon College, joined the 432nd in October 1985 and served as the unit’s Dislocated Civilians Control Officer until Feb. 1992. Although he later transferred to the 415th battalion of Kalamazoo, Mich., Cassidy was deployed with the 432nd on several occasions.

He once again volunteered to serve with the 432nd in Operation Iraqi Freedom on Feb. 28.

Cassidy is the 12th Michigan soldier to die in Iraq. He is survived by his wife Susan and their 10-month-old son Colin.

“He was working very hard on restoring the sewer and water systems in Al Hillah when he grew increasingly tired,” Ponkratz wrote. “We want Colin to know how hard his dad worked and how many lives Paul has helped over his lifetime during these deployments.”

Army Capt. Paul J. Cassidy was killed in a non-combat related incident on 7/13/03.