Two stories in today’s Tacoma NewsTribune:
Michael Gilbert notes that soldiers of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division will get a month of leave starting next week. Like all the other troops that have served in Iraq, these guys have certainly earned it and then some.
Twenty of the brigade’s Fort Lewis-based troops died during the year. A little over 400 were wounded, with about 70 percent of them able to return to duty soon after, Rounds said. The rest were evacuated to military hospitals in Germany and the United States.
“That number would be significantly higher” if not for the protection of the Stryker vehicles and equipment issued to soldiers, said Lt. Col. Gordie Flowers, commander of the brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment.
Sgt. 1st Class James Salyers, a platoon sergeant in Flowers’ battalion, said his 40-man unit was hit by a dozen roadside bombs and saw action throughout the stay in Mosul.
“I had the good fortune to bring back all my guys,” he said. “Without the Stryker, without the Kevlar and the protective equipment, we would … have had deaths.”
Three of the brigade’s 300 Strykers were destroyed, all due to secondary explosions, [Brigade commnader Col.] Rounds said.
Three seems to verify that a Stryker was destroyed during the battle on August 4th. One was destroyed by a fire started by an IED and one by a fire started by an RPG. No one was killed in either of those incidents. The third one apparently was destroyed after taking hits from an RPG according to the famous Men in Black post by CBFTW. But I haven’t really been able to nail that one down, so if anyone’s got some info, pass it on.
Mr. Gilbert is apparently working on a “One Year Later”-type story covering the first deployment of the Strykers. I hope he has luck finding the details he’s looking for, as he’s been the best source of Stryker coverage out there.
One Silver Star and two Bronze Stars. Two of those decorations were earned on Augusth 4th. I doubt that’s a coincidence.
Go read for yourself. I’ve got to get back to work.