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Iraq Command Investigates Deaths

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2005 – Multinational Corps Iraq has opened a criminal investigation into two Task Force Liberty soldiers' deaths June 7 at Forward Operating Base Danger, near Tikrit, Iraq, officials in Iraq reported today.

Capt. Phillip T. Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis E. Allen were killed in what was thought to be an indirect-fire attack. Both officers were assigned to Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 42nd Infantry Division, New York Army National Guard. Esposito was company commander; Allen served as a company operations officer.

Military police and responders at first indicated that a mortar round had struck the window on the building where the two officers were located. However, explosive ordnance personnel determined the blast pattern at the scene was inconsistent with a mortar attack after further examination.

"On behalf of all the soldiers of the 42nd Infantry Division and Task Force Liberty, I want to extend our deepest sadness and sympathy for the tragic loss of these two great soldiers, as we do for each and every one of our brave men and women who lost their lives here in Iraq," said Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Taluto, 42nd Infantry Division and Task Force Liberty commander. "Even as we mourn our loss of these two outstanding Rainbow Division officers, our task force soldiers remain committed, focused and disciplined for their work ahead."

The Army's Criminal Investigation Division is probing the case.

(Based on a Multinational Force Iraq press release.)

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