- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Sgt. Derek T. Stenroos
Died November 5, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
24, of North Pole, Alaska; assigned to the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Nov. 5 in Tal Al-Dahab, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations. Also killed were Staff Sgt. Carletta S. Davis, Staff Sgt. John D. Linde and Pfc. Adam J. Muller.
Alaskans among Fort Drum soldiers killed in Iraq
The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Staff Sgt. Carletta Davis’s mother said her daughter seemed to sense something might go wrong this time when she was deployed again to Iraq.
Before she deployed, “She visited people she didn’t normally visit, I think because she knew something,” said Lavada Napier.
Davis, 34, who grew up in Anchorage, was one of two Alaskans killed Nov. 5 when a roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee in Tal Al-Dahab, Iraq.
Sgt. Derek Stenroos, 24, of North Pole, was also killed in the attack, along with two other soldiers with Fort Drum’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division: Pfc. Adam Muller of Underhill, Vt., and Staff Sgt. John Linde of New York City.
Stenroos, a military policeman who planned to become an Alaska State Trooper when his military commitment was over, was in Iraq for the second time in about three years. Davis, a medic, was there for the third time in less than five years.
Davis, who graduated as Carletta Ward from East High School in 1991, joined the Army in 1994. She hoped to become a physician’s assistant when her military career ended, her mother said in a telephone interview from her home in Fairbanks.
As a flight medic, Davis spent much of her adult life in harm’s way. Besides the deployments to Iraq, she served six months in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1996-97 and a year in South Korea in 2002.
“It was hard, but she said ‘Hey, I’ve gotta do it,’ ” said Davis’ mother. “She didn’t never worry. She just didn’t like the fact she was going for a third time.”
Napier and her daughter spent six weeks together after Davis returned from her second Iraq tour in 2004-05.
“I said, ‘Tell me how that was.’ She says, ‘Mama, the children over there are like grown people. They’re doing things that adults would be doing. When one of them gets injured, they don’t even show pain on their face. They just hold the limb that has been severed.’
“She says it’s like the Twilight Zone. It’s like looking at a movie. Your emotions are so paralyzed once you see so much death. You just try to rescue who you can in the equipment you are in. She said that was the most hurtful thing — so many people needing help.”
Stenroos, a 2001 North Pole High School graduate, joined the Army in January 2004. By December of that year, he was in Iraq.
During his first deployment, he suffered minor injuries when another roadside bomb exploded near his convoy, said Walt Armstrong, activities director at the North Pole school.
Stenroos is the first North Pole graduate to have been killed in Iraq, Armstrong said. More than 20 have served in the war, and one was shot by a sniper but lived, he said.
“I knew the odds were getting worse for us,” Armstrong said.
Stenroos played on the hockey team, sang in three choirs, was in school plays and helped coach youth hockey, said Armstrong, who keeps a photo of Stenroos on his office wall.
“I remember saying ‘This kid’s going to be all right. He’s going to be a success in life,” ’ he said.
Since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, 109 solders from Alaska or based in the state have been killed in the war.