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Loss of Alaska Guardsmen
By Richard Heller


January 23, 2006

I would like to say we are sorry for the loss of the Alaska Guardsmen. I can tell you first hand that they were doing a great job here in Iraq.

Eric Reich and myself first met Chief Troxel and his crew a couple of months ago. We are in Mosul and are the supply sergeants of our units that are stationed in Rawah. That is about 120 mile difference, so all of the supplies have to be flown or driven to our units.

We were having a problem getting them frozen food and the crew was glad to assist us. We loaded down both birds with as much food as they could hold. They not only loaded it with us but the gunners had the food stacked right next to them. Chief told us that is was their honor to help our guys out because of the living conditions in Rawah and the lack of good food for them.

He and his crew were very humble about loading and helping to get it there. I talked with them about flying and where they were from. Since then I have always looked to the skies when I saw a Blackhawk fly over to look and see if their logo was on the doors.

They were truly doing what they loved to do. May God bless the families that have lost one of these brave heroes. I hope that this gives comfort to those who knew them and a glimpse of what kind of people they were to those who didn't know them.

Thank you for everything!

Richard Heller
Mosul, Iraq

About: Richard Heller is a 38 year old prior service soldier. He writes that he is currently assigned to Charlie 4-14 CAV out of Ft Wainwright. He is married and has 3 children.


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Ketchikan, Alaska