Monday, September 29, 2003

Army Sgt. Andrew Joseph Baddick

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Andrew Joseph Baddick, 26, of Jim Thorpe, Pa.

Sgt. Baddick was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Fort Bragg, N.C.; drowned Sept. 29, 2003 as he tried to rescue another soldier whose vehicle had entered a canal near Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq.

As his older sister remembers it, Sgt. Andrew Joseph Baddick never thought twice before rushing to help someone. “He feared nothing,” Elizabeth Hoherchak said. “Nothing. There was no hesitation in him.”

Baddick, 26, of Jim Thorpe, Pa., drowned Sept. 29 when he tried to rescue another soldier whose vehicle had plunged into a canal in Iraq. He was stationed at Fort Bragg.

Baddick had been serving in Afghanistan before going to Iraq, said Charles McHugh, a family friend.

“I knew the boy all his life; I watched him grow up,” McHugh said. “All he wanted to do was be in the Army and be a paratrooper, and he succeeded.”

Paratrooper from Pa. killed in Iraq

Associated Press

A paratrooper stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., drowned while trying to save another soldier in Iraq, the Defense Department said Wednesday, and a Veterans Affairs official said he was from Pennsylvania.

Sgt. Andrew J. Baddick, 26, died Monday, according to both a Pentagon news release and Charles McHugh, director of the Carbon County, Pa., Veterans Affairs Office.

According to the Pentagon, Baddick was trying to rescue another soldier whose vehicle had entered a canal near Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq when he drowned.

Military authorities did not say where Baddick was from, but McHugh said Baddick was from Jim Thorpe. McHugh, a friend of the family, said the military had informed Baddick’s mother, Ann, of his death.

“I knew the boy all his life; I watched him grow up,” McHugh said. “All he wanted to do was be in the Army and be a paratrooper, and he succeeded.”

McHugh said Baddick, a paratrooper with Headquarters Company, 82nd Airborne Division, had been stationed in Afghanistan before coming to Iraq one or two months ago.

Baddick, a 1997 graduate of Jim Thorpe Area Senior High School, enlisted in the Army in 1999 and re-enlisted for another six years in 2001, McHugh said.

Army Sgt. Andrew Joseph Baddick died saving another on 9/29/03.

Kentucky Army National Guard Sgt. Darrin K. Potter

Remember Our Heroes

Kentucky Army National Guard Sgt. Darrin K. Potter, 24, of Louisville, Ky.

Sgt Potter was assigned to the 223rd Military Police Company, Army National Guard, Louisville, Ky.; killed Sept. 29, 2003 when his vehicle left a road and went into a canal during a mission to search an area near Abu Ghraib Prison, outside Baghdad, Iraq.

Family, friends mourn guardsman killed in Iraq
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bagpipes and a solemn drumbeat rang through Southeast Christian Church as family, friends and comrades gathered Oct 8 to remember the first Kentucky Army National Guardsman to die in combat since Vietnam.

Sgt. Darrin K. Potter, 24, was “a very compassionate, loving, selfless person who always had a calm demeanor,” Mike Koenig, a friend and Louisville police officer, said during the funeral.

One by one, military and police officers stood before Potter’s casket and bade him farewell with slow salutes after the service that drew about 300 mourners.

Potter wanted to be a police officer — his dream since high school — when he was deployed with the 223rd Military Police Company to Iraq.

He served as a peacekeeper in Bosnia with the 223rd in December 2000. Potter’s deployment to Iraq was to have been his last before returning with hopes of re-entering the police force.

Potter died Sept. 29 when his military vehicle overturned and was submerged in a canal in Baghdad. He was in a four-vehicle convoy on patrol. A Humvee carrying Potter and other soldiers failed to make a turn and plunged into the canal while responding to a mortar attack by Iraqi insurgents.

Sgt. Matthew Staples said Potter was more concerned about the safety of his comrades than about himself.

“When his vehicle rolled into the canal, he made sure his troops made it out of the vehicle,” said Staples, one of Potter’s closest friends in the unit.

All the occupants got out, and two made it to shallow water, but Potter was swept away by swift currents. A soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division, Sgt. Andrew Baddick of Jim Thorpe, Pa., died trying to rescue Potter.

Potter’s company was supporting elements of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Potter was born in Flemingsburg and grew up in Maysville, Frankfort and finally Louisville. He became interested in sports and the outdoors at an early age. In elementary school, he would clip empty Final Four brackets printed in the newspaper and sell copies to classmates for a quarter a piece, said the Rev. Larry Pope in a eulogy.

Potter had many friends but was especially close to his sister, Anita. Though four years his junior, Anita “was a mother hen to him,” doting over him and trying to pick his girlfriends for him, said Dennis Romans, their uncle.

Potter was buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. He was honored with a 21-gun salute and a flyover by three Black Hawk helicopters.

He is survived by his father, David Potter; his mother, Lynn Romans; and his sister.

Guardsman killed in Iraq is remembered by his parents

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s first Army National Guard combat casualty in a generation died a “hero’s death” while responding to a mortar attack in Iraq, his mother said Friday.

Sgt. Darrin Potter was remembered by his parents as a warm, compassionate man devoted to family and his military mission.

Potter, 24, a member of the 223rd Military Police Company, died Monday when his military vehicle overturned and submerged in a canal in Baghdad.

“He died serving his country,” said his mother, Lynn Romans. “He died a hero’s death, and I think that’s how we need to remember him.”

In Iraq, Potter’s fellow guardsmen paid tribute to their fallen comrade at memorial services, said Kentucky Adjutant General D. Allen Youngman. The guardsmen received a short break from duties so they could “catch up a little bit emotionally and physically,” he said.

Youngman provided more details about the Kentucky Army National Guard’s first combat death since the Vietnam War.

Potter was in a four-vehicle convoy on patrol. A Humvee carrying Potter and other soldiers failed to make a turn and plunged into the canal while responding to a mortar attack by Iraqi insurgents, Youngman said.

All the occupants got out of the vehicle and two made it to shallow water, Youngman said, but Potter was swept away by the swift currents. A soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division also died while trying to rescue Potter, he said. Potter was part of a military police squad supporting elements of the 82nd Airborne Division, which is based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Potter’s parents offered condolences to the family of Sgt. Andrew Baddick of Jim Thorpe, Penn., the soldier who tried to rescue Potter.

Potter’s father, David Potter, said he last spoke with his son the morning of his death. It was a brief conversation — his son had two minutes left on his phone card. Potter gave his father instructions to carry out some of his business back home, his father said.

David Potter said his son was always reluctant to discuss what was happening in Iraq. Potter’s unit arrived in the Persian Gulf in February.

“I think he was very content,” David Potter said. “He was a military man, he knew his mission and he went there to do a job. He was very positive in his outlook.”

Asked his thoughts about the war, David Potter replied, “We have decided to leave it to the intelligence of the nation to argue the pros and cons of the war.” Darrin Potter’s mother said the war was “the route our country has chosen, and that was his role.”

Potter joined the guard unit because of his interest in law enforcement, his father said.

Romans said her son was a “very likable, easy going person.” Potter’s father remembered him as an “outstanding, all-around person.”

She said the family doesn’t yet know when Potter’s body will be returned to Louisville. She said his funeral will be at Southeast Christian Church. Potter also is survived by a 20-year-old sister.

Potter’s mother said his death was “part of a much larger plan,” and that he continues to touch many lives even after death.

“In his 24 years of life he had a lot of opportunities and a lot of privileges,” she said. “He had a goal and he went for that, and he worked for that goal. He did accomplish a lot in his life, a lot more than maybe a lot of us in our entire lifetime.”

Romans learned of her son’s death while at work. She was alerted in a phone call from her ex-husband, Potter’s father, that something was wrong before a military team told her of her son’s death.

“It’s just something that you really can’t fathom, and you never want to see,” Romans told reporters at the Buechel Armory, where her son’s unit is stationed. “And even now it feels unreal.”

Kentucky Army National Guard Sgt. Darrin K. Potter was killed in action on 9/29/03.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Army Specialist Paul J. Sturino

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Paul J. Sturino, 21, of Rice Lake, Wis.

Spc. Sturino was assigned to B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Sept. 22 from a non-combat weapons discharge in Quest, Iraq.

Brother takes different road after death of sibling in Iraq

Associated Press

RACINE, Wis. — Army Spc. Alonzo Sturino arranged his little brother’s hair in his casket at the Hanson Funeral Home, carefully placed rosary beads in his hands and made sure all other details were perfect.

They were things Sturino wished he didn’t have to do Sunday for his 21-year-old brother Spc. Paul J. Sturino, who died Sept. 22 in Quest, Iraq.

Paul Sturino had been assigned to B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment out of Fort Campbell, Ky. Family members say he died as the result of an accidental discharge from another soldier’s firearm.

Alonzo Sturino also had escorted his brother’s body to Wisconsin, first to Racine, where area relatives gathered for services, and then to the Sturino brothers’ hometown, Rice Lake.

After years of Alonzo leading and Paul following — from high school wrestling at Rice Lake High School, joining the Army, then going to Iraq — Paul’s death now sets the brothers on separate journeys.

Duane Sturino of Kenosha, the brothers’ uncle, said his nephews were having a friendly race to see who would be the first promoted to sergeant.

“Alonzo said he is even more motivated now because of Paul’s death,” Duane Sturino said.

Overcast skies and rain reflected the somber gathering at the funeral home, where the American flag flew at half-staff. Red, white and blue was the theme for the flower sprays that surrounded the casket, which was also draped in a flag.

Family members reminisced about the happy boy who often spent summers in Kenosha, where the Sturino family is widely known and well-loved. Paul’s grandparents, George and Gloria, ran a family restaurant in Kenosha for years. Paul also spent three summers on the Barracuda Swim Team in Kenosha.

“He was a fun-loving, well-liked young man,” Duane Sturino said.

The Rev. Jeffrey Thielen, who officiated at the slain soldier’s memorial service, reminded the Sturino family that Paul will always be in their hearts.

“He dedicated his life to make the world better for us, and for that we say, ‘Thank you, Paul,”’ Thielen said.

A burial with full military honors at the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery was planned, Spooner said.

Family says 21-year-old Wisconsin soldier accidentally shot

ELM GROVE, Wis. — The fourth soldier from Wisconsin killed in Iraq was fatally shot in some kind of accident, his family said Sept. 23.

Christine Straate, the fiancée of the soldier’s father who lives in Elm Grove, said the family has been told some of the details surrounding the incident that killed Army Spc. Paul J. Sturino, 21, but she did not want to comment further.

“It was an accident,” she said.

Sturino, who graduated from Rice Lake High School in 2001, died Monday from what the Army called a “non-combat weapons discharge.”

He was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and was in an area south of Mosul in northern Iraq.

Lt. Col. Kevin Curry, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said Wednesday the incident that killed Sturino remained under investigation.

The military’s labeling of the cause of Sturino’s death means only that there was no enemy contact at the time a weapon was fired killing him, Curry said.

“It doesn’t really fill in all the blanks yet. That is why it is under investigation,” he said.

Curry said it was unknown how long the official probe into Sturino’s death would take.

Three American flags fluttered in the breeze outside the home of Sturino’s mother, Christine Wetzel, near Rice Lake. A woman who answered the telephone at the home Wednesday said the family wanted to be left alone for now.

Randy Drost, one of Sturino’s high school teachers and his wrestling coach, said he was awaiting word about exactly what happened to the soldier. “We know what they’ve said can mean multiple things,” Drost said.

Army Specialist Paul J. Sturino was killed on 09/22/03.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Army Spc. Lunsford B. Brown II

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Lunsford B. Brown II, 27, of Creedmore, N.C.

Spc Brown was assigned to A Company, 302nd Military Intelligence Battalion, Patton Barracks, Germany; killed Sept. 20, 2003 in a mortar attack in Abu Ghraib, Iraq.Spc. Lunsford B. Brown II may have been a bit unpolished as a high school football player, but his hard work helped his team in Henderson, N.C., win the conference championship.

“He was raw, since he hadn’t played much,” said coach Randy Long. “But he was a strong guy, and he moved well and ended up being a contributor to the team as a defensive lineman.” He also made an impression in other ways: “I vividly remember him coming to the locker room with his ROTC uniform on to get dressed for practice,” Long said.

Brown, 27, was killed Sept. 20 when mortars struck an Iraqi prison outside Baghdad. He was based in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Brown’s younger brother, Jason, is the star center for the University of North Carolina’s football team. Long said Lunsford Brown was “a very likable person. He had the same good demeanor as the rest of his family. I thought a lot of him.”

Survivors include his wife, Sherrie Wheeler Brown of Greensboro, N.C., and 3-month-old daughter, Amber.

Army Spc. Lunsford B. Brown II was killed in action on 9/20/03.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bruce E. Brown

Remember Our Heroes

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bruce E. Brown, 32, of Coatopa, Ala.

TSgt Brown was assigned to the 78th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Robins Air Force Base, Ga.; killed in a motor vehicle accident on Sept. 4 near Udeid, Qatar.

Bruce Brown had a loving nickname for his wife of nine years. "He would call me Candy because he said I would sweeten up his day," Candice Brown said.

Bruce Brown, 32, of Coatopa, Ala., died Sept. 4 in a motor vehicle accident near Al Udeid, Qatar. He was stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Ohio.

Candice Brown said she met her husband in London in the 1990s while he was on assignment in Europe. She took him to catch the plane that took him to Iraq in July. "I prayed he would come home safely," she said.

The couple would have celebrated their ninth anniversary on Dec. 19. He is also survived by a daughter. "Dealing with his passing has been pretty hard," Candice Brown said. "You can't imagine all the things he did for me and his daughter."

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bruce E. Brown was killed in a vehicle accident on 9/4/03.