FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq — U.S. Soldiers, Iraqi police and civic leaders met in Jisr Diyala to honor a man who gave his own life saving others.
Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, honored an Iraqi Concerned Citizen who was killed when he thwarted a suicide bomber’s attempt to kill soldiers and members of the al-Arafia Concerned Citizens program during a meeting on Aug. 18.
The Concerned Citizens are groups of Iraqis who have volunteered to work with Coalition Forces to deny criminal elements sanctuary in their neighborhoods and communities.
“This single event, although tragic, may be the most important thing that has happened here,” said Lt. Col. Ryan J. Kuhn, of Clarks, Neb., deputy commander, 3rd HBCT. “I can’t think of a single event that has had more meaning to me. This event demonstrates to the people of Iraq that terrorism will not win. It is an absolute honor to be around such great heroes."
The father of the slain man accepted a plaque and a set of Cavalry spurs from Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, of Louden, Tenn., commander of 3-1 Cav.
“You cannot put a price on a life, but we would like to give you a few tokens of appreciation for your sacrifice,” Kolasheski said. “This is a tragic event we are recognizing, but it represents an outstanding change in this area.”
Two of the soldiers saved by the young man’s sacrifice were present to thank the father and pass along their condolences.
Capt. Brian Gilbert, of Boise, Idaho, commander, Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, currently attached to 3-1 Cav., echoed his commander's sentiments after the ceremony.
“I spoke with the father,” Gilbert said. “He repeated he has no remorse in his son’s death because he died saving American soldiers. They are good people. They have become good friends to us and we just wanted to let them know how much this young man’s bravery means to us.”
The 3-1 Cav., 3rd HBCT, is assigned to 3rd Infantry Division and based in Fort Benning, Ga. The unit has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 2007.
Hutto is a reporter for 3rd HBCT Public Affairs