PORT ORCHARD, WA, USA
SPC, TROOP C, 1ST SQUADRON, 303RD CAVALRY, BREMERTON, WA
TALLIL, IRAQ 05/31/2009
A 20-year-old Port Orchard man who was deployed in Iraq with the Washington Army National Guard’s 81st Brigade Combat Team died when his armored security vehicle rolled over early Sunday.
Specialist Samuel D. Stone, assigned to the Bremerton-based C Company, 1st Battalion, 303rd Cavalry, was in Tallil, Iraq, when the accident happened, according to the Washington Army National Guard. The incident was not a result of combat and an investigation, which is standard procedure, is under way. Tallil, where the unit is providing security, is about 190 miles southeast of Baghdad in southern Iraq.
One of Stone’s friends in Iraq said in an e-mail that the accident was mission-related, but that details aren’t available yet.
Stone’s family lives in Port Orchard, according to the friend, who asked not to be named. He has two brothers and one sister.
Stone, who was single, was the first Washington National Guardsman killed in Iraq since the 81st Brigade – which includes Stone’s unit and Bremerton-based C Company, 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry – deployed last August. They are scheduled to return in August. Ten brigade soldiers were killed during the last deployment in 2004-05, including four from Washington.
“The entire Washington National Guard is deeply saddened by the loss of Specialist Stone,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy J. Lowenberg, the adjutant general. “The memory of his service and dedication will live on with our citizen soldiers and airmen forever. We stand firm in support of the Stone family and will do all we can to assist them during this difficult time.”
According to South Kitsap High School, Stone attended during the 2004-05 school year, but withdrew in August 2005. Stone’s MySpace page says he graduated from Wellpinit-Fort Semco High School in Yakima County in 2006. The friend said he worked with Stone for almost a year.
“He has been a great friend to have,” he wrote. “He was like my own brothers. He worked hard at all he did. There was no stopping him. He loved his job, and was a valuable asset.”
Stone, a carpenter in civilian life who served in the Washington Army National Guard for a little over 2 years, was on a convoy security mission when the accident occurred, nearly a month before his unit was to begin returning home.
One other soldier riding in the vehicle was also injured, 1st Lieutenant Keith Kosik, a Washington National Guard spokesman.
The accident — the first death the 81st Brigade has suffered since deploying to Iraq last October — and is under investigation.