NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1122-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 06, 2006
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died of injuries suffered when an IED detonated near their vehicle October 31, 2006, in Wygal Valley, Afghanistan.
- Major Douglas E. Sloan, 40, of Evans Mills, New York
- Sergeant Charles J. McClain, 26, of Fort Riley, Kansas He later died in Asadabad, Afghanistan.
- Private First Class Alex Oceguera, 19, of San Bernardino, California
Sloan and Oceguera were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.
McClain was assigned to the 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York
2 November 2006:
Wendy Sloan held the army notice in her hands, shakily reading the news.
Her son, Douglas, wished to serve his country like his father. The boy who reigned on Charlevoix, Michigan, athletic fields and was so full of life died in Afghanistan Tuesday.
He was the son of Wendy and Emory Sloan, the former Charlevoix County Veterans Affairs Administrator.
“We never thought this would happen,” Wendy said. “We are very close, the whole family is very close, and I just can't talk about it now.”
Major Douglas E. Sloan was the first Charlevoix native to be killed in service in Iraq or Afghanistan. Sloan was in a convoy hit by a roadside bomb.
4 November 2006:
Army Major Douglas E. Sloan enlisted in the National Guard as a young man and later made the Army his career.
Charlevoix American Legion Post Commander Joe Seidel said Sloan, who was killed this week during a tour in Afghanistan, is the first Charlevoix military casualty since the Vietnam war.
“There are yellow ribbons and flags at half-mast all over town,” Seidel said. “He was very well-known. His family is well-known.”
Sloan's father, Emory Sloan, is retired from the Coast Guard and served for several years as the Charlevoix County Veterans Affairs administrator.
Douglas Sloan was a 1985 graduate of Charlevoix High School, where he was a member of the varsity basketball team. Upon graduating, Seidel said, Sloan enlisted in the National Guard and later in the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps.
It was not Sloan's first tour in Afghanistan.
“I believe this was at least his second or third time over there,” Seidel said.
Although a native of Charlevoix, Sloan no longer lived there. He and his wife lived near Fort Drum in upstate New York, Seidel said.
The American Legion has offered to provide a color guard at any services, though arrangements are not finalized, Seidel said, and it isn't known where Sloan is to be buried.
“It depends on the wishes of the family,” he said. “We are quite ready and willing to do any kind of color guard. We'll try to involve as much of the community as possible.”
4 November 2006:
There were two sides to Douglas Sloan.
His childhood buddies in Charlevoix recall a charismatic jokester who loved prank phone calls, toy soldiers and marathon sessions of Risk, the game of world domination.
But his men in Afghanistan knew a different side.
An Army officer touring various combat units earlier this year remarked that Sloan was “truly a leader of his men and his company, setting the standard” for how to conduct an operation.
“He was calm, cool, decisive,” the man wrote in an e-mail to Sloan's family this summer. “He displayed the finest leadership I have ever observed in combat.”
Sloan, 40, a father of four, was a rising star in the Army's 10th Mountain Division, stationed in the Korengal Valley region of northern Afghanistan. This fall, he'd been promoted from captain to major.
“He was excited. He was going to be in a safer job,” said Joe Hayes, a Charlevoix attorney and longtime friend who spoke by phone with Sloan a few weeks ago.
Sloan lived with his wife Kerry and their family near Fort Drum in upstate New York. He was on leave for two weeks in early October and met his infant daughter for the first time.
He shipped back to Afghanistan about three weeks ago, prepared to delve into his new assignment. Early this week, he was driving his replacement captain around, showing the new man the ropes, when an improvised explosive device — an IED — struck the vehicle.
Sloan was one of three men killed, the first Charlevoix native to die in combat since the Vietnam War.
City officials ordered the patriotic decorations normally reserved for Memorial Day put up downtown and have asked that all flags be flown at half-mast.
Sloan will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. A local service is planned at 11 a.m. November 11, 2006, in Charlevoix, either in the middle school gym, or, weather permitting, in Veteran's Memorial Park.
“He'd had a lot of close calls he'd told us about,” said Sloan's older brother Van. “But we never thought this could happen to him. He was just the kind of guy — it didn't seem possible.”
A 1985 graduate of Charlevoix High School, Sloan was mischievous and charming in equal measure. Many times he was ejected from the school library for being too loud, and would subsequently sneak back in, crawling on his hands and knees.
“It really aggravated the librarian — this tough, serious lady,” Van Sloan said. “Then, at his graduation party, she showed up with this huge present. Even when he was in trouble, the people who were supposed to discipline him would laugh.”
Longtime friend Tim LaBlance, a member of the varsity basketball team with Sloan, recalled a game where the Rayders were way ahead. Sloan, a star forward-center, decided roughhousing with a teammate would be more interesting than playing hoops.
“He started screwing around with Jimmy Martin during the game. Finally, Jimmy had enough,” recalled LaBlance. “There they went, both of them, running out the gym doors into the parking lot.”
They never came back. The hometown crowd sat in stunned silence for several seconds, LaBlance said.
“Then everyone realized it was just Doug being Doug. They subbed in a couple more guys and we finished the game,” he said. “That's a typical Doug Sloan story — something you never saw before and never, ever would expect to see again.”
Fort Drum soldier killed in Afghanistan
November 4, 2006
Charlevoix, Michigan – A member of the Army's 10th Mountain Division and a father of four was one of three people killed this week by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
Family said 40-year-old Major Douglas Sloan died Tuesday. The military has not yet announced his death.
Sloan will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
6 November 2006:
CHARLEVOIX, Michigan. The Pentagon confirms the death of a 40-year-old Army major who grew up in Charlevoix.
Douglas Sloan of Evans Mills, New York, was one of three U-S soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. All three were assigned to a unit based at Fort Drum.
The Charlevoix High School graduate was a member of the school's 1984 football team that had a perfect record. He's remembered as a disciplined soldier known for his leadership in the Army's tenth Mountain Division.
Sloan was a father of four. He'll be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. A service is also planned for this Saturday in Charlevoix.
Soldier Stood Firm in Face of Enemy
By Leef Smith
Couresy of the Washington Post
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Major Douglas E. Sloan was a teacher, a father of four and a career soldier credited with risking his life to flush out the enemy.
He was interred yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery, two weeks after he was killed by an improvised explosive device in Wygal Valley, Afghanistan. Sloan, 40, was the 44th person killed in Operation Enduring Freedom to be buried at Arlington.
A native of Duluth, Minnesota, he was one of three soldiers from the Army's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, who were killed October 31, 2006 when their convoy was attacked.
Sloan was given a burial with full honors at Arlington. More than a hundred mourners followed a horse-drawn caisson to his grave, walking slowly behind the soldier's flag-draped coffin.
Sloan's relatives wept as members of the U.S. Army Band played “America the Beautiful” and flags were presented to Sloan's widow, Kerry Sloan, and his father, Emory Sloan.
At a Veterans Day service held for Sloan in Charlevoix, Michigan, soldiers who knew him told stories about his bravery, recalling an incident in which insurgents attacked Sloan's base in Afghanistan. Rather than run for cover, he stood exposed, on top of a wall, pointing out targets where mortar rounds should be fired at the enemy, it was reported in the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
In an online guestbook, Army Captain Matt Newman, who is stationed in Iraq, said he met Sloan in college. He described him as one of the finest men he has ever known.
“I hope you can find some comfort in knowing that he has touched many lives and a piece of him lives within all of us who have had the pleasure to know him and serve with him,” Newman wrote. “I am a better person for having known him as are all those he has ever worked with.”
Brandon Freeman of Fort Knox, Kentucky, a Drill Sergeant, worked with Sloan as an instructor in the Army.
“Over the years of working together I realize I was in the presence of one of the finest officers already and hoped we were training the new ones to be just like Major Sloan,” Freeman wrote. “He was an inspiration to me on many different levels. He helped me realize what a family was and what a true non-commissioned officer should be.”
Sloan's combat team, also known as the Spartan Brigade, deployed to Afghanistan in February. The unit's 3,500 members have conducted full-spectrum operations on Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan, according to an Army news release.
Sloan was commissioned in June 1996 after graduating from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.
After the Infantry Officer Basic Course, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In May 2001, he was reassigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment at Camp Greaves, South Korea, where he served as the unit's air operations officer.
Sloan was assigned to the U.S. Army Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Georgia, in May 2002, where he was an instructor with the 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment.
In June 2004, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment and served as the assistant operations officer and company commander.
Sloan had previously served in Iraq. His prior service included time with the 2nd Armored Division as a mortarman at Fort Benning in 1987. In 1989, he left active duty and served with the 38th Infantry Division, an Army National Guard Unit.
‘He liked playing with me'
Douglas Sloan was killed in Afghanistan, but he gave his boys many memories
Courtesy of the Battle Creek (Michigan)The Enquirer
A snowball fight when he was 6 years old.
Waking up to find his face decorated with Twizzlers and whipped cream.
Push-up contests and races.
Although times made it tough to always keep in constant contact, the military didn't prevent Dylan Sloan from making memories with his dad.
“He always had a smile on his face,” the Battle Creek boy, 8, said of his father. “He liked playing with me.”
Dylan's father, U.S. Army Major Douglas E. Sloan, formerly of Charlevoix, was killed October 31, 2006, after a roadside bomb struck his vehicle in Afghanistan.
Sloan, 40, died with two other men. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.
He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on November 14, 2006. The father of four lived with his wife, Kerry, and their family near Fort Drum in upstate New York. Dylan lives in Battle Creek with his mom, Amy Vought.
“He was really nice because he took us to places we've never been,” said Dylan, a blond-haired, blue-eyed third-grader at Riverside Elementary School.
Before Sloan was deployed overseas, Dylan saw his dad about twice a year, according to Vought. After Sloan was deployed, Dylan saw him about every year-and-a-half.
One of Dylan's recent memories with Sloan was racing him on Western Michigan University's track.
As for who won, Dylan said, laughing, “I just passed out.”
In 1985, Sloan graduated from Charlevoix High School, where he lettered in football, basketball, track and cross-country, according to a Western news release.
Sloan, a WMU alumnus who graduated from the university's ROTC program, earned his bachelor's degree in 1996. He majored in history with minors in French and military science, the release said.
When Sloan couldn't be there to play jokes on Dylan and challenge him to athletic contests, he called, e-mailed and sent large packages filled with shirts, toy soldiers, marbles, baseball cards and other items.
“I've got a huge collection of planes,” Dylan said.
The letters sometimes came with glued-on surprises.
In one letter, sent in June 2006, Sloan wrote:
I love and miss you. Here are some pictures from Iraq. I also sent you some Romanian money and coins from Iceland. I stopped in those countries on the way back. I hope to see you soon. I miss you.
Two coins were attached to the letter.
By phone, Sloan would ask the fatherly questions such as ‘are you playing sports?' and ‘are you getting in any trouble?' and ‘what do you want for Christmas?'
About getting in trouble, Dylan would tell Sloan, “Yeah, I got caught at the bus stop,” he recalled telling his dad about teasing others.
But Sloan himself was “mischievous and charming in equal measure” as a student, according to an article published November 4 in the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
The story said “many times he was ejected from the school library for being too loud, and would subsequently sneak back in, crawling on his hands and knees.”
“It really aggravated the librarian — this tough, serious lady,” said Sloan's older brother, Van Sloan, according to the Record-Eagle. “Then, at his graduation party, she showed up with this huge present. Even when he was in trouble, the people who were supposed to discipline him would laugh.”
Like father, like son.
Dylan's mother, Amy Vought, 34, of Battle Creek, said Dylan has a sense of humor like his dad's. Vought met Sloan at Western in 1995, and they later married. She has since remarried.
“He was always trying to have fun,” she said of Sloan.
She said her son's clever wit is a quality his teacher has pointed out to her. Vought said the teacher can't help but laugh at Dylan's jokes sometimes.
“I know a lot of tricks from my dad,” said Dylan, who is charismatic, expressive and all smiles when talking about Sloan.
Vought said Sloan was probably on his third tour and loved being in the military.
“That was his life,” she said. “… He wasn't one of those soldiers who sat behind a desk. He was always right there with them (his troops).”
Sloan was always involved, Vought said. He enjoyed playing with Dylan and was a “big kid.”
“He always sent toys, tanks and ships,” she said about the large packages.
As for the Army, Dylan was proud of his dad's service despite the time apart.
“It kind of frustrated me a little bit because I didn't get to see him,” he said, “but it was cool in there.”
Cool, he said, was the time he visited Sloan in Georgia a few years ago at his office and had the chance to see choppers and planes up close.
“There were big jets taking off,” he said. “It was cool.”
Dylan last saw his dad the summer before he left for Afghanistan, about a year-and-a-half ago. He spoke with his dad in October by phone while Sloan was on a short leave.
Dylan might consider following in his father's footsteps.
“I could like to go in the Army. I'm practicing paint ball,” he joked.
Dealing with tragedy
Family too familiar with loss grieves major over Thanksgiving
BY MICK WALSH
Courtesy of the Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus, Ohio
It won't be a Hallmark kind of Thanksgiving for the family of Linda and David Turner.
Sadly, it hasn't been one the past six years, following the sudden death of the couple's 23-year-old daughter Katie.
A graduate student at the University of Georgia, Katie was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma, a rare form of cancer, in the spring of 2000. Within weeks, the vibrant young woman was dead.
And now, tragedy has revisited the family.
The Turners' surviving daughters — Kristen, 36, and Kerry, 32 — are Army wives.
Kristen Pirog's husband left two weeks ago for Iraq, leaving her at their Fort Bliss, Texas, home with their two daughters, Molly and Ellie. Major John Pirog, a battalion executive officer with the 1st Cavalry Division, will be deployed at least a year.
Kerry Sloan last saw her husband, Major Doug Sloan, in October, when he returned to their Fort Drum, New York, home from Afghanistan for two weeks of rest and relaxation.
His mid-tour break allowed him to see and hold his 4-month-old daughter Kenley for the first time.
Then he returned to Afghanistan and his job as company commander with the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division.
He would never see his family again.
“Doug had been promoted to Major on July 1 and was training his replacement as company commander,” said Kerry, who was notified October 31, 2006, that Doug and two other soldiers had died from injuries suffered when a roadside bomb exploded near the vehicle in which they were riding.
On November 14, 2006, at Arlington National Cemetery, Doug Sloan was buried with full military honors.
Sloan's widow, and their three kids, are staying with her parents. But on Friday, she has to return to Fort Drum, pack up the family belongings, and return to Columbus, where she plans to live.
Sister Kristen is here as well, with her two girls.
“Having lived through the death of our sister makes us all believe we can make it through this,” said Kristen. “That was our first experience with death. Certainly, we're all stunned and the grief is overwhelming. But we didn't fall apart then and I don't think we will now.”
Kerry agreed with her sister. “Katie's death prepared me for what I'm going through now.”
Kristen said, “the whole family is grieving. Doug's death is a tragedy.”
Almost exactly a year after Katie's death, Kerry married the dashing Army soldier she had met six months earlier at a Columbus mall.
“He was wearing a Western Michigan sweatshirt and since our family is from that part of the country, we struck up a conversation,” Kerry recalled. “A week later my sister and I ran into him at a local bar. He was at Fort Benning attending the advanced officers course.
“He swept me off my feet,” she said laughing. “And as soon as we were married, he was shipped off to Korea. It seems he was deployed half the time we were married.”
Sloan came from hardy Midwestern stock. His father retired from the Coast Guard and later served the Veterans Affairs administrator in the family's hometown of Charlevoix, Mich. Doug was an all-around athlete in high school and enlisted in the National Guard after graduation.
He earned his commission via the ROTC route in college and was considered one of his division's rising stars.
“Since his death, I've learned (through e-mails) that Doug was loved by his soldiers,” Kerry said. “He'd been an enlisted man before becoming an officer and he could relate to his soldiers.”
His death is the 15th in his battalion since it was deployed to Afghanistan last spring.
Minutes after Kerry learned of her husband's death, she was consoled by three of her closest Fort Drum friends — Amanda Knight, Suzanne Moody and Tracy Granger.
“They've been wonderful throughout,” Kerry said. “They were all there when I needed them.”
Doug Sloan spent two tours of duty at Fort Benning, one in the late '80s as a mortarman; the other, after his return from Korea, with the 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment.
Both Doug and Kerry had children from previous marriages. His son Dylan lives with the boy's mother in Michigan. Kerry's son Aidan, 11, was adopted by Sloan when the boy was 6.
“Doug and Aidan are baseball card fanatics,” Kerry Sloan said. “Aidan is going to miss his dad.” Kellan, 3, and baby Kenley are the couple's other children.
A Mass of Resurrection was celebrated in Sloan's honor at the Church of the Holy Family, where the Turners have been parishioners for many years.
It took place, appropriately enough, on Veterans Day.
SLOAN, DOUGLAS E
MAJ US ARMY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 05/14/1966
- DATE OF DEATH: 10/31/2006
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8438
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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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