Skip to comments.Families Mourn 5 Soldiers Killed in Iraq
Posted on 04/03/2004 4:44:53 AM PST by Cannoneer No. 4
FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP)--Five Fort Riley-stationed soldiers who died in a single day this week in Iraq were all in their early 20s but had backgrounds as varied as their hometowns, which stretched from Idaho to Maryland.
One joined the Army looking to learn a trade. Another planned to return home later this spring to a newborn child. A third found his calling as a medic after quitting college.
They died when a homemade bomb exploded Wednesday beneath their armored personnel carrier in Habbaniyah, Iraq.
The Defense Department identified them as 1st Lt. Doyle M. Hufstedler of Abilene, Texas; Spc. Sean R. Mitchell of Youngsville, Pa.; Spc. Michael G. Karr Jr. of San Antonio, Texas; Pfc. Cleston C. Raney of Rupert, Idaho; and Pvt. Brandon L. Davis of Cumberland, Md.
(Excerpt) Read more at ajc.com ...
I post on a lot of threads decrying the shortage of Up Armored Humvees and calling President Bush everything but a child of God because soldiers have to ride in unarmored vehicles. Some go so far as to blame not the enemy but the CINC and the SECDEF for any deaths as a result of IEDs exploded on standard or improvised armored humvees.
These guys were in an armored vehicle.
The enemy has a mission, too. Every once in a while they succeed in accomplishing it. I don't think their rare successes necessarily prove incompetence, negligence or malfeasence on the part of our Army's leadership.
Soldier, new father killed in Iraq
4/2/2004 11:36 AM
By: Associated Press
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Leslie Hufstedler was waiting for her husband to return to Charlotte, N.C., so he could see their baby.
Doyle Hufstedler was trying to arrange a 15-day leave so he could come home from Iraq and hold the baby. He never got the chance.
Doyle Hufstedler was assigned to the 1st Engineer Battalion based at Fort Riley, Kan. The 25-year-old native of Abilene was among five soldiers who died Wednesday when a bomb detonated under their M-113 in Malahma, Iraq.
Leslie and Doyle Hufstedler met at Texas A&M University three years ago while they picked up class rings. He proposed to her in the end zone at halftime of a football game and joined the Army as a 2nd lieutenant.
The Hufstedlers celebrated their first wedding anniversary in August. A few days later, they learned Leslie was pregnant. In less than a week, Doyle Hufstedler headed to Iraq.
Military officers notified Leslie Hufstedler on Wednesday afternoon at her parents' home.
Gathering welcomes wave of Fort Riley soldiers back from Iraq
More than 1,300 relatives and friends gathered at a hangar at Fort Riley this morning to welcome back a wave of soldiers returning from assignments in Iraq.
They cheered and welcomed 640 soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 13th Armor and the 300th Military Police Company from this Army post.
"A lot of guys weren't as fortunate as me," said Staff Sgt. Ron Bowie II, after kissing and holding his wife Patricia in a long-awaited embrace.
His mission had him in Iraq for 363 days, Patricia said.
On Friday, the Defense Department identified five soldiers from Fort Riley who died Wednesday in Iraq when a bomb detonated under their M-113 in Malahma, an area in the Sunni Triangle. It was the deadliest day for Fort Riley, which has lost 35 soldiers since the war began, nearly double the number of deaths during the Persian Gulf War.
The soldiers were identified as 1st Lt. Doyle M. Hufstedler, 25, of Abilene, Texas; Spc. Sean R. Mitchell, 24, of Youngsville, Pa.; Spc. Michael G. Karr Jr., 23, of San Antonio, Texas; Pfc. Cleston C. Raney, 20, of Rupert, Idaho; and Pvt. Brandon L. Davis, 20, of Cumberland, Md.
In the coming week, an estimated 1,000 more soldiers will return from duty in Iraq to the Fort Riley post near Junction City.
"You come back having done a wonderful job, not only for Americans but for all the civilized world," Maj. Gen. Dennis Hardy, commanding general at Fort Riley, told troops Friday morning.
All gave some.
We are winning ~ the bad guys are losing ~ trolls, terrorists, democrats and the mainstream media are sad ~ very sad!
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Not only are the guardsmen training for new skills, they're also leaving behind old skills, and that has sparked criticism. Until recently, the 81st was a heavy armor brigade, with big Abrams tanks and armored personnel carriers. Now the 81st and one other National Guard brigade are being trained for the mechanized infantry, and to move around using lighter trucks and Humvees. The Pentagon made the decision to leave most of the heavy armor behind because it felt troops could move around more easily in the smaller, less imposing Humvees.
LT. GEN. STEVEN BLUM: Tanks are intimidating at least, and they're actually too heavy, too large, and too cumbersome for the missions. You don't need to button up in a tank and be in an armored vault and be able to do your job. You're not going to be able to interface with the people. You're not going to have good situational awareness. You're certainly not going to build any relationships buttoned up in a vaulted armored tank.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: But moving around in Humvees without heavy armor also makes soldiers more vulnerable when they're attacked with bullets, rocket-propelled grenades, and improvised explosive devices, or IED's. More than 100 troops have been killed in Iraq by IED's since the end of the combat phase of the war. That accounts for about 40 percent of all casualties. Defense consultant Victor O'Reilly, an advisor to a member of the House Armed Services Committee, says the decision to leave heavy armor was a mistake.
VICTOR O'REILLY: Improvised explosive devices, RPG's, and rifle rounds wreak havoc on the human frame. You need armor. They're in harm's way, and some will die unnecessarily, in my judgment. If they had armored vehicles, fewer would be injured, fewer would die. It's very difficult. I think it's inexcusable.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Most of the National Guardsmen we talked to weren't quite sure what to think, especially the men who've been driving tanks for years.
SGT. JOHN HANCOCK: I've been a tanker since I've been in, going on 11 years. This... not really dismounted, but the infantry aspect of running around on Humvees is really new, but we are adjusting well.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: Do you think you're going to be as safe?
SGT. JOHN HANCOCK: The armament protection is not there, but our tactics are sound. We have some very good leaders, especially in our platoon.
SGT. CHRIS WELLS: You kind of get used to having that armament around you, kind of get this godlike feeling that nothing can hurt you. And now with the Humvees we have, the IED's, the mines that we're going up against... there's a definite sense of vulnerability there. The Humvees we have now, they don't have enough protection against certain IED's. The reports that we're getting are that they're getting bigger and better.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: The use of Humvees with no metal armor has become an issue with Brian and Alma Hart of Bedford, Massachusetts. Last year, they lost their son, PFC John Hart, when he was killed in Iraq.
BRIAN HART: He ran out of ammunition, and their vehicle had no armor or protection, and so they were essentially shot up in a vehicle with no doors or side paneling. And John was shot at least in the neck, and possibly in the shoulder as well. And his lieutenant was shot in the leg, left leg from the right side, because the bullets literally went through the vehicle, through his leg, and out the back of the vehicle.
BETTY ANN BOWSER: The Harts and other families who've lost loved ones in Humvee incidents have pressed the Pentagon to put metal plating on all the 11,000 Humvees in Iraq. So far, the military has plans to do that to almost half of those currently in use there, a process known as up-armoring. But it could be a year before the work is finished. The military has also accelerated production of new up-armored vehicles, but critics like O'Reilly say that won't provide enough protection.
VICTOR O'REILLY: The Humvee is essentially an SUV. It's a vehicle. It's a truck, if you will. It's not a fighting vehicle. It was never designed to be. It was designed as a transport vehicle which could go over rough terrain, and that's it. And by adding armor to it, by the way, you also restrict its mobility. It can't go off-road nearly as easily. So what you've got is a big, heavy lump that offers you some protection, but it's not adequate, in no way.
LT. GEN. STEVEN BLUM: An up-armored Humvee is not going to give the soldier inside that vehicle the same protection afforded by a tank. But you can't do the same job with an up-armored Humvee that you can do with a tank, or vice versa. If you need a tank, you need a tank. If you're looking at an armored vehicle to patrol urban areas, then the up-armored Humvee makes some sense. Let me tell you that there is... no one in uniform puts anything at a higher priority than protecting our soldiers. But putting someone inside a ballistic protected vault is not always the answer.
The five combat engineers from Fort Riley were riding in one of these: M113 Carrier Personnel Full Track.
In an announcement Thursday about the deaths of five troops in Anbar province, the Marines did not offer details about the incident and did not specify the troops' branch of service. It said they were "serving with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force," the main body of Marines in Iraq.
On Friday, in its own announcement about the same incident, the Pentagon said the five were from the 1st Brigade of the Army's 1st Infantry Division and were killed when their armored personnel carrier was hit by a makeshift bomb in Habbaniyah, which is west of Fallujah. The 1st Brigade, based at Fort Riley, Kan., is operating under 1st Marine Expeditionary Force command.
The attack was typical of Iraqi insurgents. They often hide pounds of C-4, a plastic explosive, in rubble, garbage, tree trunks, guard rails and even the carcasses of dead animals, then detonate them remotely.
A Pentagon official, however, said it was unusual for Iraqis to target an M-113. The Vietnam-era personnel carrier is made by Arlington, Va.-based United Defense Industries Inc. and can carry 11 soldiers.
"I don't know of any other M-113s that have been whacked like that," he said, speaking on background. "They have been going after trucks, Humvees, and there aren't many 113s left in the infantry anymore."
The vehicle can take hits from rifles and handguns, but the M-113s in Iraq can't protect soldiers from mines or rocket-propelled grenades, United Defense Industries spokesman Doug Coffey said.
The company sells armor and mine protection kits, but the Army has not bought them, he added. The kits also can't protect M-113 crews from all types of explosive devices.
U.S. troops have developed countermeasures, such as jamming radio signals, and have set up a convoy training facility at Fort Sill, Okla., to help prepare Iraq-bound troops for the insurgency.
But the insurgents, who often are a step ahead, have two advantages in their war on troops seemingly inexhaustible supplies of C-4 taken from old Iraqi army caches and endless miles of open roadways.
Pvt. 2 Brandon L. Davis, 20, of Cumberland, Md., is seen in this undated photograph. Davis is one of five members of the Army's 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kan. killed March 31, in Habbaniyah, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device hit their armored personnel carrier
Pfc. Cleston C. Raney, of Rupert, Idaho, was killed Wednesday in Habbaniyah, Iraq.
1st Lt. Doyle M. Hufstedler, 25, of Abilene, Texas
Spc. Sean R. Mitchell of Youngsville, Pa.
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