Monday, August 20, 2012

R.I.P. - LCpl. Jacinda Baker, Pvt. Richard HArris, Cpl. Luke Tamatea

The names of the New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan overnight have been released during a press conference this morning at the Beehive.

The trio have been named as Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker (26), Private Richard Harris (21) and Corporal Luke Tamatea (31).

They deployed with the NZ Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan, Afghanistan in April 2012. All three were from 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (2/1 RNZIR) based in Burnham.

The group were travelling in the last vehicle in a convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device in Bamiyan about 9.20pm local time.

Corporal Luke Tamatea
Corporal Tamatea joined the army in February 2000. He had previously been deployed to Timor-Leste, the Solomon Islands and Sumatra.

His first deployment to Afghanistan was in 2007.

Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker
Lance Corporal Baker joined the army as a medic and was posted to Burnham Regional Support Company in April 2007.

She received a Chief of Army Commendation in 2011 for professionalism and courage in June 2008.

She is the first female New Zealand soldier to be killed in action since troops were sent to the country, and the first woman to be in killed in conflict since nurse Lesley Estelle Cowper of the New Zealand Surgical Team was killed in Vietnam in 1966.

Private Richard Harris

Private Harris joined the NZ Army in February 2009. He had previously deployed to Timor-Leste in 2009/2010.

Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones said the deaths were difficult to deal with so close to the loss of two other soldiers.

"Ours is a dangerous profession, and while we accept these risks the death of colleagues and friends is always difficult to take, particularly coming so close following the 4 August incident where we lost two soldiers.

Lt Gen Jones said the dead soldiers were in the last of a convoy of Humvees taking a soldier with a medical issue for treatment.

They were killed instantly when their Humvee was hit with an improvised explosive device which set off a "massive explosion", Lt Gen Jones said.

The remaining patrol members secured the area and waited for evacuation, he said.

video of PM John Key names NZ Soldiers killed in AF:

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Aug. 20., 2012. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition forces killed two insurgents, detained one and cleared five improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Aug. 19.

Ghazni province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces found and safely cleared three IEDs, one in Ghazni district and two in Gelan district.

Kapisa province
Afghan Local Police and coalition forces killed two insurgents and wounded one during an engagement in Tagab district. The wounded received medical care and was transferred to a base for questioning.

Laghman province
Afghan National Army soldiers and coalition forces found and safely cleared an IED in Alingar District.

Wardak province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces found and safely cleared an IED in Chak-E Wardak district.

Operations in RC-East are still ongoing.

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Third drone strike in 24 hours kills two in North Waziristan

MIRAMSHAH:At least two militants were killed on Sunday in the third drone attack in the past 24 hours in North Waziristan.

Missiles for the third time targeted the Shawal area of North Waziristan, killing two militants while officials said that the death toll could increase.

“At least two militants were killed and two others wounded when a US drone fired two missiles at the site of this morning’s attack where militants were removing the wreckage of their two destroyed vehicles,” a security official told AFP.

Another security official confirmed the attack and casualties.

The Shawal district of North Waziristan region is considered a bastion of Taliban and al Qaeda-linked militants.

Earlier today, Pakistani intelligence officials said missiles fired from unmanned American spy planes hit two vehicles near the Afghan border, killing at least seven militants.

Three intelligence officials said the strike on Sunday came in the Mana area of North Waziristan.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

The officials said the area is dominated by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a commander whose forces often target US troops in Afghanistan, but they did not know whether his men were targeted.

The first strike which targeted a compound had killed at least six militants in Shuwedar village in Shawal district on Saturday.

from DAWN
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R.I.P. - Guardsman Jamie Shadrake

Guardsman Jamie Shadrake killed in Afghanistan

A Military Operations news article

19 Aug 12
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Guardsman Jamie Shadrake of the Reconnaissance Platoon, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, was killed in Afghanistan on Friday 17 August 2012.
Guardsman Jamie Shadrake
Guardsman Jamie Shadrake
[Picture: via MOD]

Guardsman Shadrake died of gunshot wounds when his checkpoint was attacked by insurgents in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand province.

Guardsman Jamie Shadrake

Guardsman Jamie Shadrake was born on 14 of August 1992 in West Bromwich. He was brought up in the Cardiff area, subsequently moving with his family to Wrexham. He played rugby for his local team at Llanharan and was looking forward to playing for the Battalion team at the first opportunity. A keen sportsman, he also enjoyed kayaking and rifle shooting.

Guardsman Shadrake joined the Army as an 17-year-old in 2009. Upon completion of the Combat Infantryman's Course at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick he moved to Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards, in London where he conducted public duties at the Royal Palaces and participated in state ceremonial tasks.

In April 2010 he moved to 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards in Aldershot, joining his elder brother in The Queen's Company. So competent was his performance on a training exercise in Canada in the summer of 2011, that he was placed into the Battalion's elite Reconnaissance Platoon. He subsequently completed Mission Specific Training and deployed with the Platoon to Afghanistan on his first operational tour.

He was an impressive soldier with a huge number of friends, who had a promising future in the Army and will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Guardsman Shadrake leaves behind his parents, Cathryn and Philip, brothers Carl, Kieran and Shane, and sister Kerry-Anne.

Read more:
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R.I.P. - Spc. James A. Justice

DOD Identifies Army Casualty
            The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

            Spc.  James A. Justice, 21, of Grover, N.C., died Aug. 17 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany from injuries suffered on Aug. 14 from enemy small-arms fire in Wardak province, Afghanistan.  Justice was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy.

            For more information, media may contact, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs in Heidelberg, Germany at 011-49-1-62271-6685.


Cherryville soldier, 21, dies of combat wounds

James Justice long ‘wanted to be an Army man’ and joined at 18, family says

James Justice of Cherryville always craved the soldier’s life.

At age 18, after years of waiting, he joined the Army. About a month ago, he left for Afghanistan for his first tour of duty there.

On Thursday, Justice died of a head wound he received during a combat mission. He was 21, married and had three stepdaughters.

“He’d made a wonderful soldier,” said Melba Carroll, Justice’s mother-in-law, who lives in Grover. “And I couldn’t have asked for a better son-in-law.”

Justice’s parents, Randall and Melissa Justice, learned on Tuesday that he’d been seriously injured. The Army helped them get passports so they could leave Thursday for Germany, where James Justice was being treated, according to Carroll.

But before they left, they got a call informing them of their son’s death.

James Justice’s wife and children live in Italy, where he had been stationed.

A Kings Mountain native, Justice attended Cherryville High School and received a diploma from Cleveland Community College. He had been married about four years.

Justice’s aunt, Janet White of Blacksburg, S.C., said he was “a very wonderful man who loved his wife and children.”

“He loved to joke and loved to laugh,” she said. “He was so full of life.”

She had connected with Justice’s stepdaughters on Facebook and learned that Justice had saved somebody’s life “before his was taken.”

“We don’t have any details,” White said. “But I’m not surprised at all.”

The Rev. David Chapman, pastor of Kings Mountain’s New Beginnings Church of Jesus Christ, knew Justice from the time he was six years old.

“He was a little mischievous as a kid,” Chapman said. “He grew up in the church. He started playing drums and guitar in church. And he was even ministering in the church as a young man, speaking on youth nights.”

Justice and his wife were members of New Beginnings church “and not long ago he came … and said ‘I’m gonna have to go to Afghanistan,’ ” recalled Chapman, who has a son who served tours there.

“I told him Afghanistan was not a pretty place to be,” he said. “’I know it will be a life-changing experience. But you can’t go anywhere your God can’t go.”

Chapman called Justice’s death a tragedy.

“We’re proud to have known him,” Chapman said. “We’re praying for his family. And we’re praying for all soldiers.”

Family members say Justice realized the danger of being a soldier in war time.

“But this was something he always wanted to do,” said Carroll. “He wanted to be an Army man.”

The last time she heard from him was on Facebook from Afghanistan.

“He told me he loved me,” Carroll said. “And to be praying for him. I told him, ‘I love you, too.’ I miss him. He was my hero.”

By Joe DePriest
Posted: Friday, Aug. 17, 2012
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