Four former Camp Howze soldiers killed in Ramadi
SEOUL — Four soldiers formerly assigned to Camp Howze, South Korea, were killed this weekend in Ramadi as the death toll for November equalled the highest for any month since the war in Iraq began 21 months ago.
On Sunday, Staff Sgt. Michael B. Shackelford, 25, of Grand Junction, Colo., and Sgt. Carl W. Lee, 23, of Oklahoma City, Okla., died while their unit was conducting a dismounted patrol that met enemy forces, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Two other men died Friday. Pfc. Harrison J. Meyer, 20, of Worthington, Ohio, and Pvt. Brian K. Grant, 31, of Dallas, died in separate small arms attacks, a Pentagon spokeswoman said.
All four men were with the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. So far, 25 Strike Force soldiers have died since being deployed to Iraq this summer.
On Tuesday, officials acknowledged November’s death toll made it one of the two deadliest months since the U.S. attack began in March 2003, with at least 135 servicemembers killed, the Associated Press reported. In April, 135 troops died as insurgents fought for control of Fallujah, a city about 30 miles east of Baghdad.
Troops spent much of November trying to take back Fallujah, hunting for insurgents in a block-by-block and building-by-building sweep of the city. Many of those insurgents already had fled to Ramadi, a city 50 miles west of Baghdad, where military leaders have turned their attention in recent days.
In suburbs near Columbus, Ohio, friends mourned the second graduate of Thomas Worthington High School who has died in Iraq, www.ohionewsnow.com reported.
Meyer graduated in 2003 and ran for the track team.
In June 2003, Army Pfc. Branden F. Oberleitner, 20, was killed in Fallujah after his unit took fire. A 2002 Worthington graduate, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division.
Meyer’s parents, William and Debra Meyer of Worthington, said their son’s kindness and humor touched many people. “He exemplifies the true spirit of patriotism and sacrifice by his courageous actions as a combat medic,” Debra Meyer said in a statement released by the military.
On Monday, as an Army recruiter was visiting, the high school’s flag was lowered to half-staff, the Ohio-based Web site reported.
As of Tuesday, the Pentagon reported at least 1,251 U.S. troops have died in the Iraqi invasion.