Monday, January 17, 2005
Caskets of Six Soldier Arrive in Louisiana
Associated Press, Thursday January 13, 5:08 AM
Relatives sobbed Wednesday at the sight of flag-draped caskets containing the bodies of six Louisiana National Guardsmen killed by a bomb in Iraq.
One by one, the six caskets were removed from an Air Force cargo plane and loaded into separate hearses as family members watched from a hangar at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base near New Orleans.
The six were killed Jan. 6 in the first of two deadly bombings that took the lives of eight members of the 256th Infantry Brigade of the Louisiana National Guard. In both attacks, bombs blew up heavily armored vehicles.
There were no speeches.
"They trained together, they fought together, they went to war together, they died together. The families wanted them to come home together," Hunt Downer, assistant adjutant general in the National Guard, told reporters before the plane arrived.
The six who returned were Sgt. Bradley Bergeron, 25, Staff Sgt. Christopher Babin, 27, and Sgt. Armand Frickey, 21, all of Houma; Sgt. Warren Murphy, 29, of Marrero, Sgt. Huey Fassbender III, 24, of LaPlace, and Sgt. 1st Class Kurt Comeaux, 34, of Raceland.
All but Comeaux received posthumous promotions.
A soldier from New York also was killed in the blast, which military authorities said was probably set off by insurgents using a remote electronic detonator. Brig. Gen. John Basilica, commander of the 256th Brigade, has said the soldiers were on a mission to suppress the insurgents' ability to launch rocket and mortar attacks.
Four days after the six were killed, two other Louisiana guardsmen died in a similar attack. They were Sgt. Robert Sweeney III of Pineville and Staff Sgt. Bill Manuel of Kinder. Their bodies have not yet been returned.
from The Memory Hole