Archive for Monday, December 11, 2006

Kansas soldier killed in Iraq

December 11, 2006

Here are today's headlines about Kansas military matters:

(AP) Paratroopers Killed in Iraq: The military on Sunday released the identities of two Fort Richardson paratroopers who were killed last week by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

They are Army Staff Sgt. Henry W. Linck, 23, of Manhattan, Kan., and Army Specialist Micah S. Gifford, 27, of Redding, Calif.

Two other paratroopers were seriously hurt in the same blast Thursday night while on patrol in Baghdad.

All four soldiers were assigned to the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, spokesman Maj. Kirk Gohlke said.

The wounded paratroopers were taken to the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Iraq for treatment.

Gohlke said the deaths and injuries are the first casualities involving the airborne brigade, whose 3,500 paratroopers left Alaska in the fall for a yearlong tour in Iraq.

Other headlines today:

Fort Riley

(Washington Post) Training Iraqis May Pose Risks For U.S.: The newest program for training Iraqi security forces, embedding 11- to 15-member U.S. transition teams in Iraqi battalions, represents a "high-risk assignment" for the American officers and soldiers involved, according to top military training officials. The concept is considered so dangerous that a group of potential replacements stand ready at Fort Riley, the U.S. Army base directing the program, for immediate shipment to Iraq if members of a deployed team are killed or wounded, Maj. Gen. Carter Ham, who runs the training program, told House members last week. At Fort Riley, the Army is attempting what some consider its most ambitious structural change since the Vietnam War. The Army is building a training base there that by early next year will be turning as many as 2,000 of its most promising mid-level officers into military advisers every two months, most of them headed to Iraq. Already, there are 3,600 military advisers in Iraq, training, organizing and accompanying Iraqi units into action. But as the effort at Fort Riley ramps up, Army officials acknowledge that number could grow by thousands -- and perhaps tens of thousands, once Afghanistan is added to the program -- in the coming months.

Kansas National Guard

(Topeka Capital-Journal) Guard division changes generals: After three years, Maj. Gen. James R. Mason has relinquished command of the Kansas Army National Guard's 35th Infantry Division, an outfit whose history can be traced to combat in World War I. Maj. Gen. M. Wayne Pierson, of Maryville, Mo., took over command of the unit. "It is a challenge that I look forward to and take very seriously," Pierson said. Representatives from the different elements of the division also were part of the ceremony. The 35th Infantry is made up of Army National Guard units from Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois. Mason and Pierson reviewed the command, along with Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Taylor and Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the Kansas adjutant general.

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