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November 06, 2006

The war comes home to Castle Argghhh! again.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1123-06 November 06, 2006

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DoD Identifies Army Casualties


The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died Nov. 2 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when an IED detonated near their vehicles.

Killed were:

Lt. Col. Paul J. Finken, 40, of Mason City, Iowa.

Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger, 40, of Garland, Texas.

Staff Sgt. Joseph A. Gage, 28, of Modesto, Calif.

Finken and Gage were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky. Kruger was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.

We knew about this last week, DoD doesn't release the official releases until the notifications are complete, and then gives the families a few days to adjust.

Subject: Sad news from Iraq

I received some tragic news from Iraq this evening and I wanted to share it with you all. LTC Paul Finken, who used to work for all of you, was killed today in Iraq. He was conducting a right-seat ride with the unit that was to relieve him when the HMMWV they were riding in was hit by an IED. From what I understand, all four passengers in the HMMWV were killed. Paul was scheduled to return home in two weeks from his second tour in Iraq with the 101st. During this last tour, Paul led a MITT team, supporting an Iraqi Army Brigade in Baghdad. MAJ B, another former employee assigned to the 101st Division who went to NPS with Paul and me, called me with the news this evening.

Paul's wife was notified this afternoon while their three daughters were at school. They are all now at their home surrounded by many close friends and loved ones. I'm sure they would appreciate all of our thoughts and prayers.

I will update you all with additional information as I receive it. Please keep the Finken family in your thoughts and prayers.

[edited for privacy]

What I didn't know at the time is the name of LTC Kruger, another officer I know from previous assignments.

Paul was featured in this MSNBC video clip from earlier this year. Wait for the report by Mike Boettcher.

Actually, it's been a busy email box today.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1122-06
November 06, 2006

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DoD Identifies Army Casualties


The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died of injuries suffered when an IED detonated near their vehicle Oct. 31 in Wygal Valley, Afghanistan. All soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

Killed were:

Maj. Douglas E. Sloan, 40, of Evans Mills, N.Y.

Sgt. Charles J. McClain, 26, of Fort Riley, Kan. He later died in Asadabad, Afghanistan.

Pfc. Alex Oceguera, 19, of San Bernardino, Calif.

And again...

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1124-06
November 06, 2006

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DoD Identifies Army Casualty


The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Spc. James L. Bridges, 22, of Buhl, Idaho, died Nov. 4 in Baghdad, Iraq, when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations. Bridges was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Wainwright, Ala.

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