PINEVILLE, LA, USA U.S. Army SSG, HHC, 3RD BN, 156TH INFANTRY, (1ST CALVARY DIVISION), LAKE CHARLES, LA BAGHDAD, IRAQ 01/10/2005
A Louisiana soldier was killed in Iraq when a roadside bomb blew up the heavily armored Bradley Fighting Vehicle he was traveling — just four days after a similar attack killed six from Louisiana. Killed Monday was Sergeant Robert Sweeney III of Pineville, family members said. Robert was a member of the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade.
“I extend my deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of our fallen heroes and to the entire 256th family,” Governor Kathleen Blanco said in a news release.
Sweeney, a graduate of Pineville High School, was a sophomore majoring in criminal justice at Louisiana College before he was called up. The Town Talk in Alexandria had interviewed Sweeney shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Then a freshman at Louisiana College, Sweeney already was serving in the Louisiana National Guard.
“People like to say our generation are slackers that don’t care about anything,” he said. “But they’ll see that’s wrong. If they call me up, I’m ready. Those (victims) didn’t sign any papers to die for their country. But I did.”
Sweeney had called his father from Iraq soon after the Jan. 6 death of six Louisiana National Guardsmen. The 22-year-old left a message simply saying that he was all right.
Robert Sweeney II had a steady flow of visitors to his home Monday and telephone calls offering condolences. The American flag flew on the front porch, a yellow ribbon tied to a trestle flapped in the breeze and a sign honoring his son’s unit — Charlie Company, 3-156 Mechanized Infantry — remained in the front yard.
On Friday, Robert Sweeney had ordered his passport, just in case his son was injured and taken to a hospital in Germany. The attack this week was similar to the one last Thursday that killed the six soldiers from Louisiana and one from New York — a powerful roadside bomb, probably set off by insurgents using a remote electronic detonator.
“My son was one of our brave soldiers who gave his life so others could live in a democracy,” Sweeney said.