Baumholder remembers three soldiers killed in Iraq
Three casualties of the war in Iraq were remembered at Baumholder on Wednesday in a ceremony that hinted there are few safe places to be or jobs to have in Iraq.
The soldiers, from different units under the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, were killed in three separate incidents in two different cities within eight days.
Sgt. Aaron A. Smith, 31, of Killeen, Texas, died in Baghdad Sept. 14 when a dump truck loaded with explosives and covered by sand exploded near a West Baghdad power substation he was guarding. Smith was a member of the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment.
Sgt. Allan R. Bevington, 22, of Beaver Falls, Pa., died in Ramadi on Sept.21, when a makeshift bomb detonated near him during combat operations. Bevington was assigned to the 40th Engineer Battalion.
Pfc. Jeffrey P. Shaffer, 21, died Sept. 13 in Ramadi when a roadside bomb hit his Bradley fighting vehicle. Shaffer was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment.
Capt. Eduardo D. Rodriguez, rear detachment commander of the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, said at the ceremony that Smith was the soldier that every unit has: “Everyone’s favorite.”
Rodriguez said Smith, who was born in Ghana, “was also one of the best tower guards in the power plant.”
“Although Sgt. Smith loved his job and his friends, he loved his family most. While deployed, he would always take the time to call and talk to his wife, Fran, as often as possible,” Rodriguez said. “Sgt. Smith would constantly brag to everyone about AJ, his 14-month-old son.”
One of Bevington’s old supervisors, 1st Sgt. Orville Wilson, said his former troop was “a real go-getter.”
“I mean, there wasn’t a mission he wouldn’t go out and do,” Wilson said. Bevington, who Wilson described as “happy-go-lucky” was a popular soldier who had recently been promoted to sergeant before his death.
“We took it pretty hard, because there were a lot of (noncommissioned officers) back here that had worked with him,” Wilson said. “He was one of those guys you love to have around.”
Capt. Marvin L. King III, the rear detachment commander for the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, said at the ceremony that Shaffer had recently told his mother of his decision to re-enlist.
King said Shaffer told his mother, “I think the Army’s been good for me.”
Shaffer “joined the Army because of 9/11 and the fact he wanted to protect his daughter and family from any more terrorist attacks,” King said.
According to King, Shaffer told his father he didn’t want his two brothers, Stephen and Addrin, to have to fight in Iraq, “So I will stay here until this job is done.”