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Army Sgt. 1st Class Jerald A. Whisenhunt

Died February 8, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

32, of Orrick, Mo.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Feb. 8 in Taji, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Sgt. Timothy P. Martin, Cpl. Michael T. Manibog and Sgt. Gary D. Willett.

Four Hawaii-based soldiers killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — The Army says four soldiers in the Stryker brigade based at Schofield Barracks died in Iraq after a roadside bomb hit their vehicle.

The soldiers died in the town of Taji on Feb. 8.

Two of the soldiers were from California: Spc. Michael T. Manibog, 31, of Alameda, and Sgt. Timothy P. Martin, 27, of Pixley.

Manibog and Marting both joined the Army three years ago.

Staff Sgt. Jerald A. Whisenhunt, 32, of Orrick, Mo., and Sgt. Gary D. Willett, 34, of Alamogordo, N.M., also died. Whisenhunt joined the Army in 2000 and Willett joined in 1995.

The four were assigned to the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team in the 25th Infantry Division.

Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, issued a statement saying the soldiers were part of “our island ohana,” or family.

“I salute these four brave soldiers for their service and sacrifice in a dangerous place far from home,” Inouye said. “We owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.”

The fatal attack was the second involving Hawaii’s Stryker brigade, which deployed in November and December with 4,000 soldiers and over 300 Stryker vehicles.

The first unit’s first combat fatality occurred Jan. 19 when Spc. Jon Michael Schoolcraft III, 26, of Wapakoneta, Ohio, died from wounds received when his Stryker vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

The death, also in Taji, came four days after the brigade officially took over responsibility for that area of Iraq, which is northwest of Baghdad.

Lt. had passion for driving

The Associated Press

Marc Whisenant liked to drive. When he was in uniform, he drove tanks and Humvees. Back home, his father said, he cruised around in his 2007 Chevy Cobalt SS.

Jerry Whisenant told The Daytona Beach News-Journal that his son had just spent $800 to put top-of-the-line tires on the car.

Friends and family said Marc Whisenant was a dutiful soldier who had learned that sense of duty as a Boy Scout.

“He was quiet, but he was determined, and if we had his determination today, we’d all be closer to perfection,” said Roger Tiffany, who had been Whisenant’s Boy Scout leader.

Whisenant, 23, of Holly Hill, Fla., was killed Sept. 24 in a vehicle rollover. He was based out of Miami. Whisenant graduated in 2005 from Spruce Creek High School, where he had been a member of the school’s junior ROTC program all four years.

Tiffany recalled the young man’s patience as a young scout, including the time Whisenant broke his arm during an activity. He didn’t gripe once, sitting quietly and calmly in the hospital waiting room.

“Marc will get along fine in eternity because he was (fine with waiting) in an emergency room,” Tiffany said.

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