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Honoring those who fought and died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn
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Army Sgt. Richard L. Ford

Died February 20, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


40, of East Hartford, Conn.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Feb. 20 in Baghdad of wounds suffered during combat operations.

Connecticut soldier dies in Iraq of combat wounds

The Associated Press

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — The Army’s elite White Falcons was a regiment built on readiness, able to deploy within 18 hours of notification and parachute in among the enemy.

Sgt. Richard L. Ford, of East Hartford, joined the Fort Bragg, N.C.-based unit in 2004 and was on his third tour of duty in Iraq when he died of combat wounds Feb. 20, the military said.

“Sergeant Ford honorably served with the White Falcons distinctly for the three years,” his commander Lt. Col. Richard Kim said in a statement. “Richard possessed all the qualities of a great paratrooper. He contributed immensely to the readiness of the organization and will be sorely missed.”

Ford was the 37th person with Connecticut ties who has died since March 2002 in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Ford, 40, joined the Army National Guard in 1995 and entered active duty in 2004. That’s when he was assigned to the White Falcons, the 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

The unit traces its beginning to an infantry regiment activated in 1917 in Georgia that was known as the “All-American Division.” Since then, the regiment has played key roles in major U.S. military operations, according to the unit’s Web site. The group helped provide security for the October 2005 Iraqi national referendum and, two months later, Iraq’s national parliamentary election.

A decorated soldier, Ford first served in Iraq from December 2004 to March 2005. His second tour was from September 2005 through December 2005. He was a recipient of the Army Medal of Valor, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, among several other honors.

His son, Michael Patrick, of Bridgeport, called Ford his “greatest hero.”

“I would like everyone to know that I’m extremely proud of my dad’s service to our country,” Patrick said in a statement. “I love him deeply and will miss him terribly.”

In addition to his son, Ford is survived by his father, Mason Ford of Colchester, a brother and a sister. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell ordered Feb. 23 that U.S. and Connecticut flags be lowered to half staff to honor Ford. Flags will remain at half staff until Sgt. Ford has been interred.

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