U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 407-07
April 09, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sergeant Todd A. Singleton, 24, of Muskegon, Michigan, died April 8, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
13 Sepember 2007:
There was a very unique burial Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington, D.C. Three soldiers who fought and died together in Iraq were laid to rest together in a single casket. Among the three was one soldier who was from Prichard.
Family members of all three soldiers were present to observe full military honors. Inside the flag-draped casket, the remains of Staff Sergeant Harrison Brown of Prichard; Private First Class David Simmons of Kokomo, Indiana; and Sergeant Todd Singleton of Muskegon, Michigan.
Following a 21 gun salute and the playing of taps, family members were presented with folded American flags. The attached video shows parts of the ceremony held at Arlington to honor the three soldiers.
The men died Easter Sunday after they came under enemy attack when a roadside bomb was detonated in Baghdad.
Veterans and schoolchildren, parents holding babies, friends and strangers lined the streets of Muskegon Monday morning to welcome home the body of U.S. Army Sergeant Todd Singleton.
Singleton, 24, died of wounds suffered on Easter Sunday when his unit was ambushed outside Baghdad by enemy forces using explosives and small arms fire.
Hundreds of people stood at intersections and along city streets, in church parking lots and outside Veterans of Foreign War posts to honor the fallen soldier who will be buried with full military rites Wednesday.
“I'm here to pay my respects,” said Tom Stafford, 79, of North Muskegon, a veteran of World War II and Korea.
A member of the Muskegon County Council of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Stafford was with at least 40 other veterans outside the Wilbur Boyer V.F.W. Post 3195 on the corner of Grand Haven Road and Porter Street, who formed an honor guard for the passing motorcade.
“It's sad, real sad,” Stafford said. “You see the young family, and that's the hard part.”
Singleton's family followed the hearse bearing his body through the city.
A grief-stricken Stephanie Singleton, 25 — the soldier's widow — could be seen looking out the window at the mourners alongside the road. At least 50 cars driven by family members, military escorts, motorcycles and police from the Michigan State Police and Muskegon County Sheriff's Department, as well as Muskegon and Norton Shores police departments followed behind the hearse.
By 11:45 a.m., the hearse pulled into Sytsema Funeral Home's parking lot.
It was intensely emotional for the family.
Chris Singleton, 27, is a “distant” relative of the fallen soldier's. Beth Singleton, 26, went all the way through elementary, junior high and high school with Todd Singleton in the Reeths-Puffer Public Schools and counts him “as a good friend.”
As the motorcade made its way east on Apple Avenue toward Sytsema's Funeral Home, Beth Singleton could no longer contain her tears welling.
“At first I wasn't going to come (to the procession),” she said, cradling the baby in her arms whom she couldn't help but note is “only five days older that Todd and Stephanie's daughter, Emma.”
Beth Singleton and her husband will be at the visitation tonight at Sytsema Funeral Home. Plus she faces an emotional day Tuesday as a floral designer for Ray and Sharon's Flowers, designing funeral arrangements for the fallen soldier.
“I thought about not coming because there's so much else,” she said, “but it didn't feel right not to.”
Visitation is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. tonight and 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Sytsema Funeral Home, 737 Apple.
A funeral with full military honors will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Fifth Reformed Church, 2330 Holton, with the Captain John E. Kenny, Michigan National Guard chaplain officiating. Interment will take place at Sunrise Memorial Gardens, 2188 Remembrance.
Singleton was assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas. He was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq.
Singleton is survived by his wife, Stephanie Singleton; their 6-month-old daughter, Emma; and his parents, Donna and Arthur Dykhouse and Douglas and Brenda Singleton, all of Muskegon; and numerous brothers and sisters.
Soldiers Who Died Together Share Final Resting Place
3 Men Were Casualties of Easter Sunday Fighting in Iraq
By Christy Goodman
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Friday, September 14, 2007
One soldier was on his way home to his baby girl and two others had just arrived in Iraq when they were killed in Baghdad on Easter Sunday. The remains of the three men were buried together yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery.
A single silver, flag-draped coffin was set before the men's families. One pink-flowered crape myrtle tree marks the site, growing next to where the headstone bearing the three names will be placed.
Army Staff Sergeant Harrison Brown, Private First Class David N. Simmons and Sergeant Todd A. Singleton were killed April 8, 2007, when enemy forces attacked their units with a makeshift bomb and small-arms fire, the Defense Department reported. The three soldiers were in the same armored vehicle, family members said.
At yesterday's service, a seven-man squad fired three volleys, and a bugler played in the distance. A few dozen mourners looked on as Major General Alan W. Thrasher presented flags to three mothers, two fathers and one widow.
The men are the most recent of 366 military personnel killed in Iraq to be buried at Arlington.
Brown and Simmons were members of the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Benning, Georgia, and had been in Iraq for about a week. Brown, 31, was on his fourth tour; Simmons, 20, was on his first. Singleton, 24, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Calvary Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Calvary Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas.
“He was actually training them. . . . He was supposed to be coming home” to Muskegon County, Michigan, said Shelly Carnes, Singleton's sister-in-law. Singleton's daughter, Emma, was a newborn when he left for his second tour. Now she is 11 months old, and “she looks just like him,” Carnes said.
Singleton was outspoken, a leader, a prankster and “a real good friend,” Carnes said. “He would have been a really good dad. That is what makes me sad. He never got the opportunity to be a dad.”
Once, before Singleton's daughter was born, Carnes caught him “rocking nothing in a rocking chair.” When she asked him what he was doing, he answered, ‘I'm practicing for my baby,' ” Carnes said.
Singleton graduated from Reeths-Puffer High School in Muskegon in 2001 and enlisted in the Army. On September 24, 2001, shortly after he graduated from basic training, he married Stephanie, his high school sweetheart.
“I still see his face the last time he walked out the door,” Carnes said. “I said: ‘Don't worry. I'll take care of your girls.' He said, ‘I know you'll take care of my girls.' ”
Simmons, who went by his middle name, Neil, called his mother in Kokomo, Ind., the Saturday before Easter to say he would be hard to reach while on patrol. “The very next morning he was killed,” said his mother, Teri Tenbrook. She said the armored vehicle that the three men were in was “entirely destroyed.”
Simmons was “everybody's friend,” his mother said. “He was a great son. He just had a very big heart and a huge smile that lit up every room, and he loved what he was doing,” she said.
Simmons, the youngest of three children in a tightknit family, graduated from Northwestern High School in 2005. He completed National Guard basic training before going on active duty. He had always wanted to visit Arlington Cemetery, his mother said. “This is a trip he always wanted to take, but this isn't the way he wanted to do it,” she said. “I can't believe I'm about to go to a service where my son is going to have a headstone in Arlington.”
Brown, too, was known for his smile, said his wife, Delisha Brown. “Everyone admires him for his smile, how humble he was and willing to help anyone he can,” she said. “He always put his soldiers first, before himself.”
Brown, originally from Prichard, Ala., and known by the nickname “Duck,” was a graduate of Blount High School and attended Tuskegee University on a football scholarship. After completing one year, he left Tuskegee to join the Army in 1995. The next year, he married his high school sweetheart, and they made Georgia their home.
Before he left for his fourth tour, the Browns' 9-year-old daughter, Kilani, told her father that she didn't want him to go, Delisha Brown said. He told her, “I would love to be here with you and Mommy, but Daddy has to go and protect us from the bad guys.”
Delisha Brown decided not to attend the services at Arlington, because it would be too hard for her and Kilani. But she said she knows her husband would be honored to be there. She said she still sleeps with the computer volume turned all the way up, expecting to hear the chime signaling that her husband is online.
Brown's mother, Chris Ann Brown, his 13-year-old daughter, Alexya Harrison, and other family members attended the ceremony.
“We loved him so much, but the Lord loved him more. . . . He was extremely special for the Lord to come and take him on Easter Sunday,” Delisha Brown said.
Yesterday's service was the second for the three families. Each soldier had a funeral in his home town in the spring.
“These soldiers shouldn't be forgotten,” Carnes said.
Three soldiers who were killed together in Iraq on Easter Sunday were buried together in Arlington National Cemetery on September 14, last Thursday. When I read about this, I thought it was odd to have three bodies in the same casket and even odder that it was more than five months after the soldiers were killed. But I was really surprised when I read their names – PrivateFirst Class David Neil Simmons, Sergeant Todd Singleton and Staff Sergeant Harrison Brown of Prichard. “Duck” Brown was the same guy I wrote about two weeks ago and he was buried in Prichard on April 18, 2007.
It took several days to reach her, but I finally talked to Brown's sister, Mary Dozier, on Wednesday. She said authorities had called her mother a couple of weeks ago and said they had found more remains of her brother at the site of the explosion where he was killed. Remains had also been found of the other two soldiers killed with him – Simmons and Singleton. The Army wanted to bury all the remains together at Arlington National Cemetery and offered to pay for family members to attend the ceremony, which was held last week.
Dozier said she and their mother, Chris Ann Brown, and one of Brown's daughters and her mother all went to Washington, D.C., for the ceremony. It was there they found out that a fourth soldier had been injured in the same attack but had survived with 3rd degree burns and was already back in Iraq on duty.
Both the other soldiers also had already had funeral services in their hometowns. Singleton was buried in Muskegon, Michigan, on April 18, 2007, and Simmons was buried in Kokomo, Indiana, on April 28, 2007. Actually just his casket was buried in Kokomo. At the ceremony in D.C., his mother, Teri Tenbrook, said the family knew the casket was empty.
According to the Army, remains belonging to Brown and Singleton had been positively identified and sent to their respective homes for burial. The Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner sent a specialized team to Iraq where it conducted another search of the vehicle. While that led to the recovery of additional remains of Brown and Singleton, none could be identified as Simmons. AFME officials concluded their examination June 14,2007. The unidentified, co-mingled remains were released to the Army for group burial.
The group burial, Pentagon officials informed the families, was the first brought about by enemy fire in Iraq.
As could be expected, Tenbrook is having a hard time getting closure on her son's death. She said she's still waiting for the final report on what actually happened on Easter Sunday, hoping that will help.
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