Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Iraq Violence Hits Colo. Regiment Hard 

From: Spliffslips

Iraq Violence Hits Colo. Regiment Hard

Associated Press Writer

May 28, 2003, 2:38 PM EDT

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Saribelle Rodriguez gets nervous whenever the telephone rings.

In the past few days, three members of her husband's unit -- the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment -- have been killed in Iraq, and she is terrified he may be next.

"It's hard, the separation," Rodriguez, 30, said Tuesday. "Every time you think someone is calling you to tell you your husband has died."

On Tuesday, two of Sgt. Daniel Rodriguez' regiment comrades were gunned down at a traffic checkpoint in Fallujah, where support for Saddam Hussein runs deep.

Nine other American troops were injured and two Iraqis were killed in the gunfight.

On Monday, another Fort Carson soldier, Maj. Mathew E. Schram, 36, of Brookfield, Wis., was killed when gunmen ambushed a military convoy in northern Iraq. Another soldier from the post was injured.

"He made it his career and loved it. He rose in the ranks and worked hard to get there," Schram's sister Susan Kuske said of the soldier's devotion to the armed forces.

Schram, the fifth of six children of Earl and Sarah Schram, was not married and had no children, Kuske said.

Seven soldiers from Fort Carson have been killed in Iraq since May 1. Five other soldiers and Marines with Colorado ties have been killed.

Rodriguez said she talks to her husband, an aviation mechanic, about five minutes once a week to give him news about their 2-year-old and 2-month-old children. She has no idea when he's coming home.

Staff Sgt. LaVell Dishmon, a Fort Carson reservist for 19 years, said the deaths of fellow soldiers hit home.

"In the Army, I feel like it's a brotherhood and we're close," he said.

The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is a highly mobile force that conducts reconnaissance, security, offensive and defensive operations. It has about 5,200 soldiers and 320 armored vehicles.

In news of other deaths, Military Police Sgt. Brett Petriken of Flint, Mich., was killed while leading a convoy in Iraq, his mother said Wednesday.

Deborah Petriken said her son, who was to turn 31 on Tuesday, died after a heavy equipment operator crossed the median and struck the front of Petriken's Humvee, which was leading the convoy.

She said she was told by the Army of the accident, which happened earlier this week.

"He was just a clean-cut, polite, nice young man," said Jeff Blanchard, a former substitute teacher at Flint Southwestern High School, where Petriken graduated in 1990.

Army Pvt. David Evans Jr. of Buffalo, N.Y., killed in a weekend accident in Iraq, lives on in the son he never got to meet. Family and friends say at 3 1/2-months, David Kevonta Evans is the spitting image of his father.

"He looks like his twin," said the baby's mother, Tamara Douglas. "He's even going to be pigeon-toed like David."

The child was born Feb. 8, a month after Evans, 18, made his last visit home on leave. Evans was killed Sunday in an explosion at a munitions site he was guarding in southern Iraq.

"I wish he could be here to see him, to hold him and to tell him how much he loved him," Douglas told The Buffalo News. "He wanted to see his son so bad."

Evans, a member of the 977th Military Police Company in Fort Riley, Kan., enlisted in the Army after graduating from Kensington High School last June.

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