Outpouring at Bamberg honors three soldiers killed on bomb patrol in Iraq
July 13, 2006
BAMBERG, Germany — A memorial service was held Wednesday at the Warner Barracks Chapel to remember three fallen soldiers from the Bamberg-based 54th Engineer Battalion.
Staff Sgt. Omar Flores, Spc. Troy Linden and Spc. Joseph Micks were killed in action Saturday while patrolling for roadside bombs in Ramadi, Iraq, in the volatile Anbar province west of Baghdad.
Soldiers and civilians from all over the Bamberg military community — including dozens of spouses of the roughly 470 members of the 54th who are still in Iraq — came to pay their respects to the fallen troops.
“We’re here to honor and pay tribute to three incredible soldiers,” Capt. Brian Pugh, 54th rear detachment commander, said during the service. “They showed an unparalleled level of bravery that will never be forgotten.”
Flores was born in Mission, Texas, in 1978 and joined the military in 1996, spending time both on active duty and in the Texas Army National Guard. A member of the Bamberg community since 2002, he is survived by his wife, Lizbeth, and two children, Lizbeth, 8, and Omar Jr., 4.
Native Minnesotan Linden enlisted in 2003. Born in the city of Detroit Lakes, he is survived by his parents, Keith and Merrylee Linden, who still live there.
Also serving active-duty and National Guard time, Micks was born and raised on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and was in Bamberg since 2003. He is survived by Ramona, his wife of 18 months, from Eltmann, Germany.
“Obviously it’s a very different experience with units in Germany,” Pugh said when asked how soldiers and family members of the 54th are dealing with their loss.
He added that while people in the States can see friends and family as often as every weekend, members of the 54th are each other’s friends and family.
“These were great soldiers,” Pugh said. “As an officer — a platoon leader or a company commander — they were the type of soldiers I wish I had an entire unit of.”
The ceremony was coordinated by 54th’s Family Readiness Group, made up of spouses and family members of the deployed soldiers.
“There’s been a great outpouring of support. We have a great FRG,” said Sgt. 1st Class Frances Burr, rear detachment sergeant major. “A lot of the spouses have been with the battalion a long time, an average of six years, so there’s a lot of camaraderie and long-term relationships to help pull through this deployment together.”
Flores, Linden and Micks were the first three members of the 54th killed in action during this deployment. The unit suffered a fatality in February due to accidental causes.
The battalion has been under the control of I and II Marine Expeditionary Force during its present mission and is scheduled to redeploy to Germany before Halloween, Pugh said.