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Army Sgt. David A. Mitts

Died December 4, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

24, of Hammond, Ore.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Fort Lewis, Wash.; killed Dec. 4 when his Stryker military vehicle received enemy fire during convoy operations in Mosul, Iraq. Also killed was Army Staff Sgt. Salamo J. Tuialuuluu.

Warrenton soldier killed in Iraq remembered

Associated Press

WARRENTON, Ore. — Before the memorial service for Sgt. David Mitts, Warrenton High School students cleaned the grounds of the school where he had earned a seat on the homecoming court and fell in love with the girl who would become his wife.

Yellow ribbons adorned the trees and the message board in front of the school read: “In Memory of David Mitts 1980-2004.”

The school let students out early for the service, and soon the halls were crowded with Army officers, friends and family, many wearing ribbons and a photo of Mitts pinned to their lapels. Tables in the high school lobby bore photos of the young man at play and in uniform.

Mitts, 24, was killed Dec. 4 during convoy operations in Mosul. Another soldier, Staff Sgt. Salamo J. Tuialuuluu, 23, of Pago Pago, American Samoa, was also killed in the attack on their Stryker military vehicle. Both were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Lewis, Wash.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski, attending his 30th memorial for Oregon soldiers, compared Mitts to members of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery.

“The return of Army soldier David Mitts to his loving family and friends here in Warrenton will not make international headlines, but to me, honoring the life of David Mitts and the community that supports him is as important, if not more important, than honoring the first non-native visitors to Oregon,” the governor said.

“We will not forget who Sgt. David Mitts was, what he stood for and all he achieved in his short, but very meaningful life,” Kulongoski said. “David was his own corps of discovery, discovering within himself a calling to duty, to honor, and love of country.”

Afterward, the governor knelt before Tara Mitts, who is due to deliver the couple’s first child in February, and offered her a folded state flag.

Maj. Gen. James Collins presented a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and a U.S. flag to Tara Mitts and Mitts’ mother and father, Cindy McEwen and David Bright.

Pastor Ray Bergerson, Mitts’ uncle, recited the words of “Amazing Grace,” and asked the gatherers to consider the meaning of grace. Then he stopped.

“What words can you speak to comfort the hearts of those who have lost so much life? You can offer your heart, your sympathy, but no amount of sympathy, no amount of words can really heal the wounds we have.”

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