Saturday, September 02, 2006

In Memoriam

From the DL Tribune:

A Dent man and a member of the Minnesota Army National Guard now serving in Iraq was killed by an improvised explosive device Thursday.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Hanson, 27, was one of four soldiers patrolling in a Humvee when the incident occurred.

Hanson was a member of 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, and was assigned to the Detroit Lakes Armory. He was the team leader of the 3rd Squad.

Lt. Col. Paul Zimmerman, deputy commander of the 1/34th and speaking by telephone from Iraq to a hastily called press conference at the Detroit Lakes Armory Friday, praised Hanson as one of combat team’s best soldiers.

Lt. Col. Kevin Gutknecht, the 1/34th’s rear detachment commander, said funeral arrangements were pending.

According to Zimmerman, Hanson was killed instantly by the blast at around noon Iraq time (3 a.m. Minnesota time). Three other members of Alpha Company were in the Humvee with him and were able to get out with only minor injuries.

The heavily armored vehicle soon caught fire, and two of the soldiers tried to pull Hanson’s body from it, but were unable because of the fire. They suffered second- and third-degree burns on portions of their bodies.

Eventually, a commanding officer ordered the soldiers away from the Humvee because ammunition inside the vehicle was exploding due to the fire.

Four other soldiers were wounded during that incident, plus two more Alpha Company members by indirect mortar fire during a separate incident. Zimmerman said all eight soldiers were treated for their injuries and have returned to light duty.

Alpha Company is stationed at Camp Taqqudum, a U.S. Marines logistics base. The camp is in Al-Anbar Province and 65 miles west of Baghdad. The sector has long been a hot spot for insurgent activity, particularly at two cities, Ramidi and Fallujah.

The 1/34th is under tactical command of the U.S. Marines at Camp Taqqudum. Zimmerman said 1/34th soldiers and U.S. marines were jointly participating in a four-day offensive in the Ramidi area, with the intent of either capturing or killing insurgents.

“The offensive was going very well …. the Minnesota boys and marines were doing very well,” said Zimmerman.

Hanson’s platoon was on patrol when his vehicle struck the IED.

“It is a great tragedy for the Hanson family and I would like to express our condolences to them,” added Zimmerman.

The Hanson family issued a written statement through the Minnesota Army National Guard.

“Josh was a wonderful and loving son and a great friend. He was proud to serve his country as duty called. We can’t express how proud we are that he was willing to lay down his life for all of us.

“He and his comrades are real heroes. The United States of America is what it is today because of soldiers like Josh and those who have gone before him. Our solace is in knowing that Josh died doing what he felt he needed to do. God bless America, the land that Josh loved.”

In another prepared statement, Major General Larry Shellito, adjutant General of Minnesota, said, “It’s our priority to assist the Hanson family during this difficult time. I ask that all Minnesotans take time to reflect in a moment of silence to honor this young hero.”

Hanson, who graduated from Pelican Rapids High School in 1998 and was single, joined the Minnesota Army National Guard 10 years ago. He last spoke to his family a week ago.

Hanson had recently finished a portion of studies related to law enforcement at Minnesota State University, Moorhead.

This was Hanson’s second overseas deployment with the Minnesota Army National Guard. He was part of the 2nd Battalion 136th Infantry that spent a year (2003-04) in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“Hanson was a good soldier and he took care of his men,” praised Gutknecht. “He had a dry wit, but he had the knack to take tense situations and make them better.”

Hanson was a member of my son's platoon; my son was around 150 feet behind him when the IED detonated. Despite the best efforts on the part of his comrades, some of them sustaining second and third degree burns in their efforts, Hanson was burned alive.

I spoke with him earlier today, and Doug said, "We lost the funniest guy in our platoon when he stepped on an IED in July. Now we've lost our second-funniest guy."

Doug is understandably shaken, but he's back on patrol for the first time since the incident today.

GOD keep him, and GOD bless and keep Sgt. Hanson's family and friends, and his comrades who are still fighting the good fight in Iraq, who continue to know what is at stake.

Prayers will certainly be appreciated.

Man, I swear that I'm going to punch out the next buffoon who tells me they shouldn't be there.
And then there's Murtha... the bloviating blow-hard...

Last week’s town hall meeting at the Park Slope United Methodist Church, 410 6th Avenue, concerning the war in Iraq drew a packed house to weigh in on one of the country’s most pressing issues.

The meeting was part of Rep. John Murtha’s (D-Pa) swing through the borough to endorse Yvette Clarke for the 11th Congressional district race.

Murtha is considered the foremost Democratic authority and opponent on the war in Iraq and held the meeting along with Rep. Anthony Weiner and Clarke.

“I feel very strongly the military has done everything it can do and that the military commanders agree with me,” said Murtha.

OK, Congressman blowhard. Where is the list of the military commanders that "agree with you?"

Where's the list, assclown?

I'm calling you out, gasbag.

On behalf of Sgt. Hanson, my son, and those who continue to bravely put their lives on the line for their mission, I politely say,


(Filed under Heroes, Iraq)