Brian T. Craig, 27, died handling large caliber rockets confiscated from former Taliban ammunition dumps. Also killed were Staff Sergeant Justin J. Galewski, 28, of Olathe, Kansas; Sergeant Jamie O. Maugans, 27, of Derby, Kansas; and Sergeant First Class Daniel A. Romero, 30, of Longmont, Colorado.
The accident is under investigation.
Craig, Galewski, and Maugans were part of 710th Ordnance Company, a small unit on a Navy submarine base in San Diego. Galewski's wife, Christine, heard from her husband a few days ago.
“I feel very fortunate to have been with him,” she told ABC's “Good Morning America,” which had been following her for a story about military wives. “I want him to know that I'm going to be OK.”
She said the loss had not sunk in.
“I just keep feeling they're going to come through the door and say ‘Sorry, we got the wrong one,”‘ she said. The couple had two children.
Romero was with the 19th Special Forces Group based at Pueblo, Colo. His wife and parents described him as sensitive, spiritual and a dedicated soldier.
“He was a very loving son. He loved his family and his wife,” said his father, Michael Romero.
The family last talked to Romero on Sunday. They knew he was helping to fight the war on terrorism, but they didn't know he was in Afghanistan, his father said.
“This tragedy brings home … the sacrifice that brave Americans make daily to defend our freedom,” said Colorado Governor Bill Owens, who ordered flags at state buildings to be flown at half-staff Tuesday.
Maugans' family said he felt he was saving other soldiers as well as civilians. They last heard from him in an e-mail on Easter, when he said he'd be home in a month.
“He was hoping to go out and have a beer or two with me – I was looking forward to that,” said his father, Bryce.
His grandmother, Shirley Maugans of Wichita, said the family had been looking forward to his return because he'd been overseas since November.
“He was a gentle man, from the time he was born,” she said. “He was very sweet and kind.”
The soldiers' bodies arrived Tuesday at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany en route to the United States.
An honor guard and chaplains stood at attention as the C-17 cargo plane carrying the coffins taxied on the runway. Members of the honor guard saluted as others carried the flag-draped coffins down the plane's ramp to waiting hearses.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard