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Army Staff Sgt. Mark C. Baum

Died February 21, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

32, of Telford, Pa.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard; died Feb. 21 in Baghdad of wounds sustained earlier that day when enemy forces attacked his unit using small arms fire in Mushada, Iraq.

Pa. guardsman killed by small-arms fire in Iraq

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Military officials say a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard is dead after being severely wounded by small-arms fire in Iraq.

Guard officials say Staff Sgt. Mark Baum was killed Saturday after his quick-reaction unit responded to an improvised explosive device attack in Mushada.

He was airlifted to Baghdad and died five hours later.

The 32-year-old Baum was from Quakertown and was assigned to the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He was a member of a unit based in Phoenixville.

Baum joined the Guard in 2005 and was a guard at the Bucks County prison. He is survived by a wife and three children.

Baum is the 33rd Pennsylvania Army National Guard soldier killed in action. The Stryker Brigade arrived in Iraq last month for a nine-month assignment.

Fallen staff sergeant joined Guard to serve again

The Associated Press

Spec. Brian Mandes, a groomsman at Mark C. Baum’s marriage, said Baum had missed the camaraderie of being with troops after he left the active Army.

That was why he joined the Guard in 2005, though he knew there was a chance he might be ordered again to Iraq.

“His wife didn’t want him to join up, but he missed doing something,” said Mandes.

Baum, 32, of Telford, Pa., died Feb. 21 in Baghdad of wounds from small-arms fire in Mushada. He was assigned to in Phoenixville, Pa.

“Mark was one of the most respected leaders of the platoon,” said Joe Oberholtzer, who served with Baum in the National Guard.

Baum, a corrections officer at Bucks County Prison, had done tours in Kosovo, Sinai and Iraq. “He was a hero,” his widow, Heather, said. “He was a good man.”

Baum’s survivors also include three young children — Alexis, 6, Kailey, 3, and 7-month-old Conrad.

Heather Baum said her husband was always eager to both play with his children and handle the more draining tasks of parenthood, such as changing diapers or comforting them when they woke up at night.

“He was a great father,” she said.

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