Nation & World

Names of dead soldiers released

The military today made public the names of the nine Fort Bragg soldiers killed in a double suicide truck bombing Monday.

Killed in the attack in Diyala province north of Baghdad were:

1st Lt. Kevin J. Gaspers, 26, of Hastings, Neb.

Staff Sgt. Kenneth E. Locker Jr., 28, of Wakefield, Neb.

Staff Sgt. William C. Moore, 27, of Benson

Sgt. Randell T. Marshall, 22, of Fitzgerald, Ga.

Sgt. Brice A. Pearson, 32, of Phoenix

Sgt. Michael L. Vaughan, 20, of Otis, Ore.

Spc. Jerry R. King, 19, of Browersville, Ga.

Spc. Michael J. Rodriguez, 20, of Sanford

Pfc. Garrett C. Knoll, 23, of Bad Axe, Mich.

The names of Knoll, Gaspers, Rodriguez, King, Locker and Moore had emerged before today's release, after their families learned of their deaths.

All were assigned to the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

A dump truck loaded with explosives rolled toward their camp at high speed and rammed a concrete barrier protecting their small outpost, blowing a hole in it. Then a second dump truck rammed the wreckage of the first, dragging it to within 90 feet of a building housing the soldiers before it, too, exploded.

The second blast collapsed the building's second floor, which caused most of the casualties, according to a military news release Wednesday.

The deaths made April the deadliest month of the year for the U.S. military. It was also the single deadliest attack on U.S. ground forces since Dec. 1, 2005, when 10 Marines were killed by a bomb inside an abandoned flour mill near Fallujah.

A spokesman for U.S. forces in northern Iraq told the Associated Press that the patrol base had been set up in the town of Ah Sadah less than a month before the attack. The town is near Baqubah, the capital of Diyala province, which has emerged in recent months as one of the most dangerous places in Iraq for U.S. troops. Military leaders have said that the recent boost in U.S. troop strength in Baghdad pushed Sunni insurgents and other extremists into neighboring Diyala.

The bombing was the worst for the 82nd Airborne Division since the Vietnam War, division officials said. The 5th Squadron, a reconnaissance unit with about 330 soldiers, has lost 18 killed in action in the past 5 weeks.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

  Comments