Third Baumholder soldier killed in Afghanistan in a week
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — The soldiers and families of the 1st Battalion, 84th Field Army Regiment, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team are grieving after the deaths of three members of the unit.
The most recent was Sunday, when Sgt. Jose M. Caraballo Pietri, 32, of Yauco, Puerto Rico, died of wounds sustained when his unit was fired upon by insurgents. Caraballo’s unit was establishing defensive positions to conduct a dismounted patrol in Badghis province when the soldiers received small arms fire from about five enemy fighters, said Capt. Royal Reff, the brigade’s spokesman in Afghanistan. No other soldiers were wounded, Reff said.
Caraballo’s death was the third for the brigade, which deployed to Afghanistan in February for a 12-month tour.
“Three casualties in a week is hard on any unit,” said Lt. Col. Steven Fandrich, rear detachment commander for the brigade. “And these are the first casualties of the brigade for the deployment.”
The 1st Battalion, 84th Field Artillery Regiment is also mourning the losses of Sgt. Michael S. Lammerts, 26, of Tonawanda, N.Y. and Sgt. Scott H. Burgess, 32, of Franklin, Texas, shot and killed by an Afghan border policeman.
That shooting took place April 4 inside a base in Faryab province, while the soldiers were providing security at a checkpoint. The border policeman fled, but he was killed Thursday during a joint operation by coalition and Afghan troops, according to news reports.
A memorial service for Burgess and Lammerts is being held Wednesday at the Baumholder chapel. A service for Caraballo is tentatively scheduled for early next week, Fandrich said.
Early Tuesday, Caraballo’s family members had already begun to mourn his loss on Facebook. One relative posted a video tribute to him with the tag line, “No es un adios, es un hasta luego,” — “This isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later.”