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October 20, 2006

The war comes home to Leavenworth.

This post will remain on top through the day.

A member of my son's 2003 graduating class at Leavenworth High School was killed this week in Iraq. While not the region's first casualty, he is the first one to hit this close.

Leavenworth soldier killed in Iraq By RACHAEL BOSSOW, Times Staff Writer Published: Thursday, October 19, 2006 1:43 PM CDT

David Unger would have been 22 years old on Halloween. Instead, the U.S. Army specialist and father was killed in Iraq earlier this week.

Thought of as a comedian and a role model, Unger called his mother, Diana Pitts, last Thursday to reassure her that he would be coming home.

“Mom, I’m the one in the bunch that keeps everyone’s spirit up. Everyone relies on me to be the clown, so I have to make sure I’m there for them,” Unger reportedly told family members.

“That is who David was,” said Caitlin Sullivan, Unger’s cousin. “You couldn’t help but love his humor and sincere kindness toward others.”

While news of Unger’s death spread throughout Leavenworth on Wednesday by a network of friends and family members, the U.S. Department of Defense did not release the names of 10 American troops that were killed on Tuesday. According to the Associated Press, nine soldiers and one Marine were killed by roadside bombs and enemy fire.

Three of the soldiers killed were attached to Task Force Lightning, assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division of Fort Hood, Texas. Unger, a 2003 graduate of Leavenworth High School, was deployed in December 2005. He was scheduled to return from Iraq in two months.

For those with an interest who haven't seen it yet - here is a link to the Leavenworth Times article (from which the above was taken).

The Master and Mistress of Argghhh! extend our condolences to Corporal Unger's family and friends.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam.

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Update: The official release is out:

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died Oct. 18 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. The soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Killed were:

2nd Lt. Christopher E. Loudon, 23, of Brockport, Pa.

Cpl. David M. Unger, 21, of Leavenworth, Kan.

Cpl. Russell G. Culbertson III, 22, of Amity, Pa.

Spc. Joseph C. Dumas Jr., 25, of New Orleans.

For further information related to this release the media can contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993.

Update II. More from the Leavenworth Times.

Corporal Unger will be buried at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. For those locals wishing to attend the funeral, I'll post those details when they're set.