Monday, May 22, 2006

One More Falls In Iraq – Farewell “Sly”

This past Thursday, in Iraq, an IED claimed the life of 1LT Robert Augustine Seidel, III. This one hits close to home. “Sly” was a 2004 graduate of West Point, and had been a roommate and closest friend of Socrates Rosenfeld. I had met Sly several times as he visited the Rosenfeld family in Newton, and I saw him several times at West Point.

The following excerpts come from the West Point Website. See link below for pictures of LT Seidel.

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Seidel, 23, was a rifle platoon leader with the 2nd Battalion in the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y. He and three other soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were killed in Iraq when his Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device in the northwest sector of Baghdad. His deployment was scheduled to end in August.

He majored in The American Legal System, with his required engineering concentration in environmental engineering at West Point, was an Army Ranger, earned his Air Assault and Airborne badges, and was planning a career in the Army.

He will be buried in Emmitsburg, Md., and is survived by his parents and one brother.

From LTC Kevin P. Brown, USMA 1987, battalion commander:

"1LT Robert Seidel was one of my very best. He was very well liked by the soldiers in his platoon, and his peers, and he was an outstanding officer. We are all mourning his loss right now here in theater, as is his family back home."
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At a gathering last night at the Rosenfeld home, family and friends assembled with decidedly mixed emotions in a bitter sweet gathering that was in part a memorial celebration of Sly’s life, a celebration of Socrates’ recent engagement to Emily, and a going away party for Soc, who will leave this week for a year-long deployment to Korea, where he will fly Low Bow helicopters.

Socrates’ shared some words that will serve as my closing remarks, as well.

“Look around at the friends and family that are gathered here tonight. And never take anything for granted. I’m not a big military guy or a hero. I don’t think a lot about why we are over there – I just want to do my job the best way I know how. I just want to fly helicopters and take care of the other guys that are serving over there with me. So, all I ask, as I get ready to go overseas - no matter what your politics may be or how you feel about the war - is that you think about me and the others who are serving. And when you think about us, think about what it costs for those of us in this room tonight to have the freedom to gather here like this, to be able to buy the kinds of food that we are enjoying this evening, and to live in safe neighborhoods like this. And please say a prayer for those of us who serve to preserve those freedoms.”

Please keep the Seidel family and the Rosenfeld family in your prayers, and remember all the families who sacrifice sons and daughters so that we might all be free.


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