Private 1st Class, 16th Pomeranian Mechanized Division
8/21/2004, Al Hillah, Iraq
Poland’s defense minister paid a morale boosting visit to his troops in Iraq on Sunday, saying their presence would continue despite the deaths of three Polish soldiers in recent days. Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski attended a memorial Mass at the Polish-led multinational force’s headquarters for Pfc. Krystian Andrzejczak, 24, killed in a car bomb blast in Hillah on Saturday, Polish media reported.
That raised the Polish contingent’s death toll to 10. On Thursday, two soldiers were killed when their cars crashed as they tried to escape an ambush in Hillah.
“Let us make a vow that his death will not be in vain, that we will go on with our mission,” the Polish news agency PAP quoted the minister as saying in tribute to Andrzejczak. Restating his government’s stand, he said Poland wants “to pull out from Iraq as soon as possible, but we also want to build solid security structures here.”