2nd BCT soldier dies of injuries suffered in Iraq last year
January 10, 2005
SEOUL — Another soldier formerly assigned to Camp Howze, South Korea, died last week from wounds he suffered last year in Iraq, bringing the total number of losses among troops deployed with the 2nd Infantry Division to 34, according to a tally kept by Stars and Stripes.
Sgt. Bennie J. Washington, 25, of Atlanta died Tuesday in Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. He was injured Oct. 14 in Ramadi during a rocket-propelled grenade attack, one of several insurgent-led battles last fall that killed Strike Force soldiers.
The fighting last fall found soldiers such as Washington combing through volatile areas Ramadi, a city 50 miles west of Baghdad, looking for insurgent hideouts and stored weapons.
The block-by-block patrols took their toll: the Pentagon acknowledged that last November had at least 135 deaths, a tie with April for the deadliest month for U.S. servicemembers since the invasion of Iraq began in 2003.
More recently, U.S. military officials have been trying to bolster the numbers of Iraqi police and to prepare the country for a national election, scheduled for Jan. 30. Gen. Thomas Metz, the commander of multinational forces in Iraq, acknowledged late last week that four of the country’s 18 provinces still were not secure enough for polls to open, according to a transcript from his briefing in Baghdad.
As of Friday, 1,342 servicemembers have died in the U.S.-led invasion, according to the Pentagon.
Washington had been assigned to the 44th Engineer Battalion. Two others from his battalion were killed the day of the attack that wounded Washington, and another was a fellow Strike Force member:
¶ Staff Sgt. Omer T. Hawkins II, 31, of Cherry Fork, Ohio, was killed Oct. 14 when an improvised explosive device struck his convoy in Ramadi. Hawkins was assigned to the 44th Engineer Battalion.
¶ Spc. Bradley S. Beard, 22, of Chapel Hill, N.C., was killed Oct. 14 when an IED struck his convoy in Ramadi. Beard was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment.
¶ Pfc. Mark A. Barbret, 22, of Shelby Township, Mich., was killed Oct. 14 when an IED struck his convoy in Ramadi. Barbret was assigned to the 44th Engineer Battalion.