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Air Force NCO Honors Army Friend at Baghdad Fuel Facility

By Staff Sgt. Nate Orme
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Iraq, Oct. 14, 2003 – Air Force Tech. Sgt. Robert Moore wanted to do something for the friend he had made and lost while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. So he requested and got permission to name an airport fuel storage facility after Sgt. Roger Rowe, an Army transportation specialist killed by a sniper July 9.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Sgt. Maj. Carthrone Dawkins (right) of the Army's 49th Quartermaster Group presents Air Force Tech. Sgt. Robert Moore with a certificate of appreciation in front of the Sgt. Roger Rowe fuel storage facility. Rowe's unit is part of the 49th. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Nate Orme

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Moore, a fuels specialist who works at the facility, met Rowe when the latter delivered fuel to the airport. At the time, soldiers did not have a place to get a hot meal, so Moore and Tech. Sgt. Charles Twigg set up a place in their workplace building for the soldiers to get some hot Air Force food.

"The soldiers would eat, and then I would play a movie on my portable DVD player that was hooked up to a big TV. They looked forward to coming to (the airport) for dinner and a movie," Moore said.

"My sister and a few of my friends back home would send me (brand-name) coffee and, like everything else I had here, I would share with the soldiers. Sgt. Rowe was quite the coffee drinker, and he was very appreciative of how Sgt. Twigg and I treated the soldiers," Moore said.

"Sgt. Twigg left in July, but I stayed behind so someone would be here to take care of all the soldiers who risk their lives every time they deliver fuel here at BIAP. Without guys like Sgt. Rowe, the Air Force could not fulfill its mission here in Iraq."

Rowe, a Tennessee National Guardsman with the 1174th Transportation Command, was five days short of his 55th birthday when he died, making him the oldest American casualty since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Moore said he got squadron-level approval easily from his unit, the 447th Expeditionary Logistics Squadron, which had a professionally produced sign made to mark the site.

Rowe was a grandfather of seven and a Vietnam veteran, serving there as an Army surgical technician. His battalion commander, Lt. Col. Billy Taylor, presented his family in Tennessee with a Bronze Star and Purple Heart in a ceremony for the fallen soldier.

(Army Staff Sgt. Nate Orme is assigned to 3rd Personnel Command.)

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