24 January 2007

Names from Karbala

Well, now we have it.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died Jan 20 in Karbala, Iraq, from wounds sustained when their patrol was ambushed while conducting dismounted operations. The soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Killed were:

1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Neb.

Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, La.

Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, N.Y.

Pvt. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Ala.

Yesterday they announced the name of a CA officer:
Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, Calif., died Jan. 20 in Karbala, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his meeting area came under attack by mortar and smalls arms fire. Freeman was assigned to the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, Whitehall, Ohio.

Our Bad Dog hearts go out to the families.

CPT Freeman, as a Civil Affairs Officer, was trained and was in Iraq specifically to facilitate the formation of functional government structures and processes. The infantrymen and their lieutenant were supporting that mission. These men died trying to improve the lives of others, and build a better Iraq.

We hope the Army takes a good look at how things are run down at the Karbala Government Center (or whatever they're calling it now) and takes steps to ensure this doesn't occur again.

I understand our desire to trust Iraqi Security Forces and local governments, and I understand that behaving in accordance with that trust is a way we show we're making progress in Iraq. And I understand the desire to show we're making progress.

However...it is not unknown that the Karbala provincial government is...not entirely on the side of the angels. We must deal with things as they are, not as we wish they were.

Godspeed, soldiers. Good work. We will not drop the ball.