Soldiers, families come together after deaths of 4 GIs from Baumholder
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Soldiers and families of Company C, 4th Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment are struggling with the deaths of four of the unit’s members, who were killed when their vehicle overturned in Afghanistan.
Spouses from the company were holding a Family Readiness Group meeting Tuesday night. Chaplains and mental health professionals would offer their services there, said Capt. Bradford Dooley, rear detachment commander for 4-70th Armor Regiment.
“Charlie Company is a very tight-knit unit,” he said. “I know a lot of spouses are taking this hard.”
The soldiers were killed Saturday when their vehicle rolled over while patrolling the Deh Rawud area of Uruzgan province, according to military officials. The crash was not combat-related. Because an investigation is under way, no further details about the incident can be released, said Lt. Col. Steven Fandrich, rear detachment commander for the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The brigade, which deployed to Afghanistan in February for a 12-month tour, has now seen eight deaths.
“Any death for a unit is hard,” Fandrich said. “But when you multiply that by four, it’s that much more difficult, especially for a small community like Baumholder,” where the unit is based.
The Department of Defense released the names of the four dead soldiers late Monday night: Sgt. 1st Class Alvin A. Boatwright, 33, of Lodge, S.C.; Sgt. Edward F. Dixon III, 37, of Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.; Sgt. Alan L. Snyder, 28, Worcester, Mass.; and Spc. Tyler R. Kreinz, 21, Beloit, Wis.
Capt. Nick Clemente, commander of Company C, said in an e-mail message that the soldiers were “doing as well as can be expected.”
“It has only been a couple days,” he said. But “the men along with our Australian and Afghan brothers have really come together as a family to help each other through this tragedy.”
The soldiers have already resumed patrols in the area, Clemente said.
Amber Schmidt, whose husband is based at Multinational Base Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan province, said the soldiers were hard hit by the deaths.
“These are the first deaths for the 4-70th,” she said. “The guys are having a real bad time with it.”
A memorial service is scheduled for June 29 at 11 a.m. at Chapel One on Smith Barracks in Baumholder.