Dec 28, 2006

Iraq conflict makes all politics local

Army Spc. Wilson Algrim, 21, of Howell became the second Livingston County solider to die in Iraq in the space of just one week when he was killed in action on Dec. 23. The news of Algrim’s death comes just the day before funeral services are to be held for Spc. Andrew P. Daul, 21, of Brighton, who died Dec. 19 after an IED exploded near his tank.
Algrim was one of three Michigan soldiers who were killed when an IED exploded near their vehicle during combat operations in Iraq, according to the DoD.

I normally don’t comment all that much on national events, preferring to focus more on local and state politics where I am personally involved. However, the Iraq fiasco has hit very close to home and continues to do so.

Algrim becomes the ninth combat death in Iraq with Livingston County ties since hostilities began more than three years ago, and he becomes the 122nd death with Michigan ties.

That, obviously, seems like a steep price for this county. In the entire 16 years shots were fired in anger in the Vietnam conflict only seven servicemen with Livingston County ties died in that conflict. Combat casualties began in 1959 when two U.S. military advisors were killed in an ambush and concluded with two servicemen who were killed in 1975 when their helicopter crashed during the evacuation of Saigon.

I have no idea why that number is so high, but if those numbers hold and the conflict goes on as long, we can expect another 39 Livingston County kids to make the ultimate sacrifice. Obviously, the population in Livingston County has increased significantly since 1975, but there has to be more reasons why the numbers are so high.

The Iraq fiasco has touched my life far more than any other American conflict. I talked to the mother of the first Livingston County casualty, Pfc. Jason Meyer, just a day after he was killed in April of 2003. It was a heart-wrenching experience.

It personally touched me again in August of 2005 when I received the news that the son of a Navy buddy was killed in Iraq. This old friend I still keep in touch with was originally from Michigan, but he chose to stay in Jacksonville, Fl. following his retirement from the Navy, so the last time I had seen the son, Tim, he was perhaps 10-yeas-old. I will always remember him from the days we babysat for him and he played with my children.

I was against this war before it started because we did not have all the facts, and now that we do have the facts, I am even against it more. The price is far too high for the benefits, if any.

The Livingston County Honor Roll

Pfc. Jason Meyer, 23, 4/17/2003
Staff Sgt. Paul J. Johnson, 29, 10/20/2003
Staff Sgt. Thomas Christensen, 42, 12/25/2003
Lance Cpl. Michael W. Hanks, 22, 11/17/2004
Lance Cpl. Andrew Kilpela, 22, 6/10/2005
Marine Maj. Gerald M. Bloomfield, 38, 11/2/2005.
Staff Sgt. Gregory McCoy, 26, 11/9/2006
Army Spc. Andrew P. Daul, 21, 12/19/2006
Army Spc. Wilson Algrim, 21, 12/23/2006

Pfc. Maurice J. Biehn, 20, 10/9/1967
Army Spc. William F. Diggs, 22, 9/15/1969
Pfc. John M. Donohue, 18, 9/16/1968
Sgt. William M. Light, 24, 4/5/1969
Pfc. James M. Loso, 23, 6/10/1967
Army Spc. Brent B. Nauss, 21, 9/2/1969
Staff Sgt. Robert V. Simons, 32, 8/15/1968

1 comment: