Platoon Leader, 3rd Mechanized Brigade
11/2/2007, Diwaniyah, Iraq
Sergeant Andrzej Filipek, the most recent Polish casualty of the war in Iraq, has been buried in his hometown of Lublin. The 31-year-old was the 22nd Polish soldier killed in the country since Poland dispatched troops there in 2003. Five Polish civilians have also died in the conflict.
Filipek died November 2 in Diwanyah when his military vehicle hit a mine. Two Polish soldiers were wounded in the blast. Filipek was beginning his third tour in southern Iraq. He was the first Pole killed in action since Apr. 20, when 25-year-old Tomasz Jura died in a mine blast. Defense Minister Aleksander Szczyglo and General Roman Polko, acting director of the National Security Bureau, attended Filipek’s funeral Nov. 7.
“Today Polish soldiers in Iraq, together with thousands of allies from all over the world, ae helping the weak and giving them hope of a better life,” Szczyglo said. “This difficult mission has a deep humanitarian purpose and is very important as well to the security of the country.”
Polko read a letter of condolence to the Filipek family from President Lech Kaczynski. Senior Cpl. Andrzej Filipek, a 31-year-old father of two who was just beginning his third tour with the Polish force in Southern Iraq, was killed by a powerful roadside bomb Friday morning near a joint Iraqi-Polish outpost in this tumultuous city deep in Iraq’s Shi’ite heartland. He was the 22nd Polish soldier to die in Iraq since the autumn of 2003, when Poland first sent troops into the country. He was the first Pole killed in action in more than six months and his death comes at a delicate time for a newly elected Polish government, which is under intense domestic pressure to pull out all its people of Iraq by next year. After the British force, which recently pulled out of Basra, the 900-strong Polish unit is the largest international contingent serving with the U.S. in Iraq.