Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wisconsin soldiers were first on the scene to help after an explosion killed a Michigan soldier and injured others in Baghdad

When the Associated Press reported that a Michigan soldier was killed by indirect fire in the Baghdad area last week, I asked the PAO for the 32nd IBCT if any Wisconsin soldiers were affected by the blast.

Indirect fire is when an enemy propels an explosive device from an unseen location.

Lt. Col. Tim Donovan in Baghdad got back to me with this:

This indirect fire incident did involve impacts in the vicinity of one
of our units. Two soldiers from (the Eau Claire-based) Headquarters and Headquarters Company of 1-128th Infantry were first to respond to provide emergency first aid to the soldiers injured in the attack. Sgt. 1st ClassThomas Wise (front left) and
Sgt. Randy Burns (front right) received awards for their actions in response to the
indirect fire attack.

There have been relatively infrequent indirect fire attacks on a few
locations where 32nd Brigade soldiers are assigned. . I am not aware of any 32nd
Brigade soldiers who have been wounded by indirect fire.

Sgt. 1st Class Wise is from Hammond, Wis. (in St. Croix County) and Sgt.
Burns is from Pardeeville, Wis.

The soldiers were fairly close to the point of impact, so they most
definitely heard the explosion, then they responded to a call for

Here is the text of the Associated Press story on the indirect fire incident:

DOWAGIAC, Mich. - The Department of Defense says a soldier from
southwestern Michigan was killed last week in Iraq.

The Pentagon said Monday that Spc. Paul E. Andersen of Dowagiac died
Oct. 1 in Baghdad from wounds sustained when his camp was attacked with
indirect fire. Additional details were not released.

Andersen, 49, was assigned to the Army Reserve's 855th Quartermaster
Company, based in South Bend, Ind.

The South Bend Tribune reports Andersen is survived by his wife, Linda,
three children and three stepchildren

Wisconsin legion chief joins battle for Afghan war funds

The commander of the organization for Wisconsin veterans of overseas conflict has joined the war of words designed to persuade President Obama to ramp up U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan.

Here is a portion of a press release issued Tuesday by
Wisconsin American Legion Finance Development Manager Jessika Erickson:

Leo A. Endres, Commander of the over 70,000 member Wisconsin American Legion, echoed the call of the organization’s National Commander. “Wisconsin Service members are fighting and dying in Afghanistan and it is time for this Administration to give them the tools they need to win. In the past week, Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers have been hit hard by casualties and we ask the President to act now on McChrystal’s report,” said Commander Endres. “While the state is mourning the loss of Sgt Adams, The Wisconsin American Legion Family is working to assist the wounded and their families. It is time for this Administration to take decisive action on General McChrystal’s request,” said Endres. He continued, “We must not lose Afghanistan. Wisconsin service members and their families have sacrificed too much for the President to decide to fight this battle without the right tools to win the war on terrorism. Our Wisconsin heroes deserve better.” The Wisconsin American Legion Troop and Family Support Fund was designed to assist service members and their families with the challenges that arise when a loved one is deployed in harm’s way. To learn more or make a tax-deductible contribution to these efforts, please visit
The Wisconsin American Legion is the state’s largest veterans’ service organization with over 70,000 members and 523 posts and has been serving troops, veterans, and youth since 1919. For more information on the Legion’s programs and membership, please visit

The three-tiered heading on the press release links the death Friday of a Wisconsin soldier, the case for more war funding, and a Time magazine cover featuring a wounded Wisconsin soldier:

SGT Ryan Adams of Rhinelander killed in action

Wisconsin casualties in Afghanistan heighten need for support

Sparta soldier appears on cover of TIME


(Getty Images photo at left: President Obama meets with Gen. Stanley McChrystal in the Oval Office in May. McChrystal has asked the Pentagon for as many as 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan. )

Here is how the story has unfolded in recent days

Obama's national security advisor has criticized McChrystal for breaking the chain of command by appealing directly to the public.

The relationship between President Barack Obama and the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan has been put under severe strain by Gen Stanley McChrystal's comments on strategy for the war.

Afghanistan is not in imminent danger of falling to the Taliban, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, retired Gen. James Jones, said Sunday as he downplayed worries that the insurgency could set up a renewed sanctuary for al-Qaida.

THE LATEST: According to Foreign Policy's Passport blog, at a bipartisan meeting with congressional leaders on Tuesday, President Barack Obama indicated that he has ruled out substantial troop reductions in Afghanistan but remains undecided on Gen. Stanley McChyrstal's request for 40,000 more troops.

A senior aide said the president was looking to “dispense with the straw man argument that this is about either doubling down or leaving Afghanistan,” but with congress divided on Afghan strategy, the president may not have much time for deliberation. “This should not be a leisurely process,” Sen. John McCain reportedly told the president at the meeting.