Saturday, October 01, 2005

More progress in Iraq

From the Citizens Voice:

Five Northeastern Pennsylvania soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing west of Baghdad on Wednesday, driving the state's death toll in Iraq to more than 100, Pennsylvania Army National Guard officials said Friday. The deaths of the soldiers, all members of the Scranton-based 1st Battalion, 109th Mechanized Infantry, represent the largest loss of life from a single attack on Pennsylvania soldiers in Iraq. Nineteen Pennsylvania Army National Guard soldiers have been killed in Iraq.

Killed were: Staff Sgt. Daniel L. Arnold, 27, of Montrose. Staff Sgt. George A. Pugliese, 39, of Carbondale. Spc. Oliver J. Brown, 19, Athens, Bradford County. Spc. Lee A. Wiegand, 20, of Hallstead. Spc. Eric W. Slebodnik, 21, of Greenfield Township.

The soldiers were providing security for engineers building a railroad bridge when an improvised explosive device struck their M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Guard officials said. The vehicle was then hit by rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small arms fire, setting it ablaze.

This was co-ordinated attack by a force that the Secretary of Defense described as a bunch of dead enders. Is there an answer to this madness? A Mom and Dad has one:

Sporting a T-shirt with a picture of his dead son, the father of a local soldier killed in Iraq was one of the hundreds of people arrested in an anti-war protest in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

Al Zappala's son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, 30, of Plymouth, was killed in a explosion in Baghdad in April 2004. Baker was a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard's 109th Field Artillery and was serving with the 103rd Armor Regiment.

"Nothing I can do can ever bring my son back, but his brothers and sisters are still there in an illegal and unjust war based on lies," Zappala said.

Baker's mother, Celeste Zappala said her message to the government is to "bring the troops home now and take care of them when they get here. Every day there's another family like us and that's what we're trying to stop."

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