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U.S. Forces Suffer Losses in Iraq, Afghanistan

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2003 – Fifteen U.S. soldiers were killed and 21 were wounded when a coalition helicopter went down near the city of Amiryah, Iraq, at about 9 a.m. local time today. This was the single deadliest attack on coalition forces since President Bush announced the end of major combat in Iraq.

The helicopter, a CH-47 Chinook, was transporting personnel to the Baghdad International Airport when the incident happened, U.S. Central Command officials said. The aircraft was assigned to the 12th Aviation Brigade, which was operating in support of the 82d Airborne Division Task Force.

An aerial quick-reaction force was immediately dispatched to the scene, and a ground force secured the site.

The wounded soldiers were evacuated to nearby medical facilities. Names of the dead and injured are being withheld pending next-of-kin notification, officials said. A military spokesman said witnesses reported seeing missile trails, but that an investigation would determine the official cause of the crash.

Appearing on the ABC News program "This Week," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today is a tragic day, but that such days are necessary. "They're part of a war that is difficult and complicated," he said.

Earlier in the morning, a 1st Armored Division soldier died at about 3:45 a.m. from wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device explosion in Baghdad. The soldier's vehicle struck the device shortly after midnight while responding to a separate incident. A soldier wounded in the incident was evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital.

Officials are investigating these incidents, as well as the death of five other soldiers who were killed in Iraq and one who died in Afghanistan between Oct. 27 and Nov. 1. Another soldier died of a nonhostile gunshot wound Oct. 28 in Iraq.

On Nov. 1, two soldiers of the Army's 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) were killed and two were wounded in an improvised explosive device roadside attack at about 7:30 a.m. in Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, according to Central Command officials.

The wounded soldiers were evacuated to the 21st Combat Support Hospital, which is deployed to the Middle East from Fort Hood, Texas.

Central Command reported that one 82nd Airborne Division soldier was killed and four were wounded in an improvised explosive device attack in the Khaladiyah area, west of Baghdad, at about 8:45 a.m. Oct. 31.

On Oct. 30, a U.S. soldier died from wounds received in a firefight between Afghan militia forces, coalition special operations forces and a 10- to 15- member anti-coalition element about 35 miles west of Deh Rawood in Afghanistan's Uruzgan province. An Afghan militia force soldier also was wounded in the contact. Both soldiers were medically evacuated by helicopter to Kandahar Airfield.

On Oct. 28, two 4th Infantry Division soldiers were killed and one was wounded when their tank hit an unidentified explosive device 40 kilometers northeast of Balad, Iraq, at about 7 p.m. Early that morning, an 82nd Airborne Division soldier died of a nonhostile gunshot wound at a forward operating base near Fallujah, Iraq, at about 12:10 a.m.

The day before, a 1st Armored Division soldier was killed and six were wounded in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Baghdad at about 10 a.m.

In his Nov. 1 weekly radio address, President Bush said, "Some of the killers behind these attacks are loyalists of the Saddam regime who seek to regain power and who resent Iraq's new freedoms." He said others are foreigners who have traveled to Iraq to spread fear and chaos, and to prevent the emergence of a successful democracy in the heart of the Middle East.

Bush said the attackers may have different long-term goals, but they share a near-term strategy: to intimidate Iraqis from building a free government, and to cause America and its allies to abandon their mission.

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