Surviving Sisters to Complete Army Duty Outside of Iraq
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 27, 2004 The surviving Witmer sisters, Charity and Rachel, today decided to complete their active military duty elsewhere than Iraq.
Their sister, Spc. Michelle Witmer, 20, a military policewoman with the 32nd Military Police Company, was killed April 9 during an ambush in Baghdad. All three sisters -- all in the Wisconsin Army National Guard - were serving in Iraq.
"We are requesting reassignment to other duties that are appropriate for our military skills and experiences," the sisters noted in a joint statement released today. "We will always cherish our memories of Michelle."
Sgt. Charity and Spc. Rachel Witmer had returned to Wisconsin for Michelle's funeral while deciding whether to return to Iraq. A Defense Department policy gave them the option to complete their military duty elsewhere.
The sisters noted that Maj. Gen. Al Wilkening, the Adjutant General of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, had "asked us to complete our active duty obligations in new assignments that would not take us back to Iraq."
Wilkening pointed out in a statement that if either surviving sister would be harmed upon redeployment to Iraq, "a family already devastated by one tragic loss would be needlessly shattered again and forever."
News reports noted that other Witmer family members, too, wanted the sisters to obtain a reassignment from Iraq duty.