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- Operation Allies Refuge
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
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- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- Task Force Sinai
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
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- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Sgt. David M. Heath
Died August 16, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
30, of LaPorte, Ind.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; killed Aug. 16 when his patrol came under small-arms and rocket-propelled-grenade attack in the Sadr City section of Baghdad.
Indiana soldier killed in Iraq
INDIANAPOLIS — A soldier from LaPorte was killed in a battle in Iraq, the Department of Defense said Wednesday.
Sgt. David M. Heath, 30, died Monday when his patrol was attacked with guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, the government said in a news release.
Heath, who enlisted in September 2001, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, based in Fort Riley, Kan.
Heath had a previous tour in Iraq in 2003, according to WSBT-TV of South Bend. He also is survived by his wife, Donna, son, Derek, 8, and stepdaughter, Angela Riffel, 13, all of Fort Riley.
“It’s just a tragedy,” said David Riffel Sr., Angela’s grandfather and assistant pastor of the LaPorte First Church of the Nazarene. “He was super good to my granddaughter, and she loved him very much,” Riffel told the Post-Tribune of Merrillville.
Donna Heath said her husband attended New Prairie High School before moving to nearby LaPorte.
LaPorte Mayor Leigh Morris said it would be up to Heath’s family whether the city about 25 miles west of South Bend will hold a ceremony or formally honor the soldier.
“Any time you hear of a fatality from something like the war in Iraq, it’s of special concern. But when one of our own is involved, it makes it an even more meaningful and tragic situation,” Morris said.
LaPorte’s American Legion Post Commander John Hewitt said a separate service for Heath would be planned.
Slain soldier enlisted to make father proud
LAPORTE, Ind. — The mother of a northern Indiana soldier killed in Iraq said her son joined the Army because he wanted to be like his father.
“(David) always looked up to his father, and he wanted his dad to be proud of him,” Lola Modjeska told the Herald-Argus for a story Thursday. “It was something for them to have in common, being separated so much of their lives.”
Sgt. David Heath, who grew up in LaPorte, was killed in action Monday in the Sadr City district of Baghdad when his patrol came under a small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade attack, the military said.
His father, John David Heath, who lives in Florida, is a retired Army veteran of the Gulf War.
Heath’s death is the first combat death of a LaPorte County soldier since the Vietnam War, the newspaper reported. He was the 25th person from Indiana to die in the Middle East since the buildup for the invasion of Iraq began in February 2003.
“I prayed every day for my son to come home,” Modjeska said. “We loved him so much. He was such a good boy.”
Heath was on his second tour of duty in Iraq. An infantry soldier with the 1st Armored Division out of Fort Riley, Kan., he spent 11 months in Iraq in 2003.
After re-enlisting in the service last September, Heath was expecting to move to Germany. Instead, he was deployed to Iraq.
Survivors include his wife, Donna, their 8-year-old son and his 13-year-old stepdaughter.
Indiana soldier killed in Iraq laid to rest
LAPORTE, Ind. — A soldier killed in Iraq last week when his patrol came under a small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade attack was laid to rest in the northern Indiana city where he grew up.
More than 300 people attended the funeral of Sgt. David M. Heath, 30, on Saturday, the Post-Tribune of Merrillville reported. Among the flowers at the First Baptist Church stood a red, white and blue funeral arrangement bearing a gold banner with the words “Freedom Isn’t Free.”
Brigadier Gen. James W. Rafferty, commander of the Joint Munitions Command, urged people to keep Heath’s memory alive.
“I think it’s important that we don’t forget,” he said. “As soldiers, we all know we are really there to answer the call. This just reminds us.”
Many onlookers stood along the funeral procession route to Patton Cemetery, where a flag hung from the city’s ladder truck over the entrance to the graveyard.
“You pay your respect to those veterans who paid the ultimate,” said Chuck “Tuna” Coleman, a member of a Michigan City veteran’s group who came to honor the fallen soldier.
Heath, who enlisted in September 2001, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, based at Fort Riley, Kan. He also spent 11 months in Iraq in 2003.
Heath was the first LaPorte County soldier to die in combat since the Vietnam War. He was the 25th person from Indiana to die in the Middle East since the buildup for the invasion of Iraq began in February 2003.
Survivors include his wife, Donna, son, Derek, 8, and stepdaughter, Angela, 13.
“Donna is a very strong woman,” her friend Joan Vance said. “She has two children. She has to be.”
— Associated Press