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Army Spc. Zachariah W. Long

Died May 30, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Milton, Pa.; assigned to the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C.; killed in a vehicle accident near Mosul, Iraq.

Spcs. Zachiariah W. Long, Michael T. Gleason and Kyle A. Griffin were among the soldiers traveling from Mosul to Tikrit in a three-vehicle convoy — two Humvees and a light medium tactical vehicle — during a storm May 30. A civilian vehicle dodged a pothole, causing the Humvees to swerve. There was not enough stopping distance between the vehicles, and the LMTV swerved off the road and turned over, causing the death of three soldiers.

Milking cattle wasn’t one of Spc. Zachariah Long’s regular tasks in the Army, but that didn’t stop him from showing two comrades how it’s done.

“His platoon leader called us and said that a cow came in, and he taught his two buddies,” said Mandy Long, the soldier’s older sister. “That was just Zach — he was always fun and entertaining.”

Long was only 12 when he decided he wanted to enlist, and he left for basic training right after high school. He had worked with farm animals as a youth and that made him a natural teacher the day the cow wandered into camp.

“Of course, the boys he taught were city slickers,” Mandy Long said. One of them was Spc. Kyle A. Griffin of Emerson, N.J., who died in the same crash that killed Long. Mandy Long said her family made sure to tell Griffin’s family about the milking lesson. “Mr. Griffin got a kick out of that,” she said. “He was like, ‘My boy milked a cow?’ ”

— Associated Press

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