NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Specialist Toccara R. Green, 23, of Rosedale, Maryland, died on August 14, 2005, in Al Asad, Iraq, where multiple improvised explosive devices detonated near her unit during convoy operations. Green was assigned the Army's 57th Transportation Company, 548th Corps Support Battalion, Fort Drum, New York.
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
First Female Soldier From Maryland Killed in Iraq
Monday August 15, 2005
A 23-year-old soldier from Rosedale was killed in an ambush in Iraq on Sunday, the Pentagon said Monday. She is believed to be Maryland's first woman killed in combat in Iraq.
Specialist Toccara R. Green was killed when several bombs detonated near her unit during convoy operations in Al Asad, the Department of Defense (website) said in a news release.
Green was assigned the Army's 57th Transportation Company, 548th Corps Support Battalion, Fort Drum, New York. She worked in transport operations, escorting and driving in convoys.
“She was destined for the military,” her brother, Garry, said at their parents' home Monday, as family, friends and members of the family's church gathered to talk, eat and watch coverage of her death on the television. “She just wanted to make the family proud.”
Garry Green Jr., 26, a Marine stationed at Norfolk, Virginia, said his sister was in ROTC at Forest Park High School in Baltimore, from which she graduated in 2000. His sister loved roller skating and working on cars, he said. And even though Toccara was younger, “she always inspired me,” he said.
Toccara helped restore morale after her unit lost another member a few weeks ago. Garry said her commander told him that they lost five people Sunday, but Toccara's death hit the group especially hard.
She had wanted to join the Army for a long time, but she tried college and working as a secretary before enlisting, her brother said.
She went to boot camp in January 2003 and was three months from finishing her second tour of duty when she was killed, their mother, Yvonne said.
Toccara had been home on leave recently and returned to Iraq on August 8, 2005, Toccara's mother said. She said her daughter called her at work on Thursday.
“The only thing that puts my mind at ease is that she died for what she believed in,” Garry Jr. said.
He had been stationed in Iraq, too, and the siblings talked about the possibility of one of them dying.
“She said her ideal situation go out fighting for our country,” he said.
Toccara Green didn't want people to be sad about her death, Garry Green said, but she wanted people “to remember her as being a good person.” He said he promised her to make sure everybody knows about her.
Toccara's father, Baltimore Police Detective Garry Sr., remembered his daughter as a “go-getter.” She would go to school early and stay late for ROTC, their drill team won awards and she became the class commander, he said.
As of Sunday, at least 1,853 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,431 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers. The figures include five military civilians.
The AP count is seven higher than the Defense Department (website) ‘s tally, last updated at 10 a.m. EDT Friday.
Maryland Soldier Who ‘Loved to . . . Help People' Is Killed in Iraq
By Martin Weil
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
For the members of the Green family of Maryland, it was about serving the public. The father protected the people of Baltimore as a police detective. The son helped safeguard the nation as a Marine. The daughter joined the Army.
On Sunday, Specialist Toccara R. Green, 23, whose family lives in Rosedale, northeast of Baltimore, was in Al Asad, Iraq, serving with a transportation company and on a mission to replenish the fuel on which the Army runs. She is believed to be the first woman from Maryland killed in combat in Iraq.
She was killed, the Pentagon announced yesterday, in the detonation of “improvised explosive devices,” the term often used for roadside bombs. Rocket-propelled grenades also might have been fired, said her brother, Marine Staff Sergeant. Garry M. Green Jr.
Toccara Green was in the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, New York, and was on her second tour in Iraq. She had told her brother that “it was rough over there.”
But, Garry Green said, Toccara had been in the ROTC at Forest Park High School in northwest Baltimore and had long wanted to serve in the Army. She “loved to get out there and help people,” he said.
Toccara Green was first sent to Iraq in 2003. When she was redeployed several months ago, her brother said, “she looked forward to going over again.”
She was one, he said, who took “a negative and made it a positive.” Her company commander told him that she was an unofficial morale officer for her unit.
After high school, she attended Norfolk State College for a time, then worked for a medical insurance firm in Howard County, her brother said. She liked to roller skate, hang out with friends and spend time with her dad.
But the Army was what she wanted. Her father, Garry M. Green Sr., a longtime police detective, “had always tried to instill in us to do good for other people,” his son said.
Although the father had reservations about his daughter signing up, he finally came around, his son said, and when she joined, their father “was proud.”
15 August 2005:
Toccara Green lingered until after midnight that last Sunday in July, eating ribs and ice cream cake and mingling
cheerfully with nearly 90 friends and relatives gathered at a backyard barbecue in her honor.
She posed for pictures with new baby cousins and older relatives she had not seen for years. She prayed with members
of her church. The next Sunday, her two-week leave over, the 23-year-old Rosedale woman and Army specialist returned to Iraq for the final four months of her second tour of duty.
Monday, members of her family reconvened to mourn her death.
The first military woman from Maryland, and the 26th service member from the state, to die in Iraq since U.S. forces invaded the country more than two years ago, according to announcements from the Pentagon.
As friends and family gathered, Green's parents received a phone call from a fellow soldier and friend of their daughter
who was there when the woman died. Green was killed Sunday when explosives detonated near her supply convoy in Al Asad, in western Iraq.
Green, a motor and transport operator, was driving a Humvee behind Specialist Nicole Coleman, the soldier who called the Green family home Monday. Between them were several trucks carrying supplies, Coleman said over a crackling connection. When the convoy stopped to refuel and switch drivers, they climbed out of the Humvees.
“The next thing you know, explosives went off,” Coleman recalled in a soft and trembling voice. “I was getting ready
to get back in when I saw the first one go off.”
Coleman said she dropped to the ground, then, when she heard the second explosion, jumped back into the Humvee. Inside, she heard there were casualties but didn't know who.
The next time she left her vehicle, she said, she saw her friend lying in a puddle of blood. She recognized her, Coleman said, by the scarf on her head. Someone was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Green, Coleman said, but she was dead before the medevac unit arrived.
“I just started screaming,” she said. “I never lost a best friend before.”
The two met during basic training in 2003, Coleman said, and referred to themselves as “Batman and Robin” or “Pinky and the Brain.”
Green had long wanted to join the Army, her family said, and spent four years in ROTC while attending Forest Park High School in Baltimore.
Her father, with whom she was close, wasn't comfortable with his only daughter joining the military, especially because her older brother had joined the Marines, the brother, Garry Green Jr., said Monday.
So, after she graduated from high school in 2000, Green attended Norfolk State University in Virginia, where she
studied telecommunications and broadcasting.
Her desire to join the Army never waned, and in January 2003,she enlisted, her brother said.
“She loved her country,” he said. “She wanted to do something to help, not just sit around and talk about it.”
When Green was 13, her father had begun to teach her about cars, and she loved to work on them, her brother said. So it was no surprise when she told her family that her Army job would be as a motor and transport operator.
She was assigned to the Army's 57th Transportation Company, 584th Corps Support Battalion, based at Fort Drum, New York.
She was sent to Iraq the first time in May 2003, her brother said, and stayed for about nine months. She returned to Iraq in February.
Garry Green Jr. said his sister was eager to finish her second tour and receive a new assignment. She was talking
about re-enlisting during her last visit home.
“She wasn't exactly mad about going to Iraq,” he said. “She's not the type to cry that ‘I gotta do this' or ‘I gotta do
that.' She just wanted to get it done.”
He described his sister as enthusiastic and outgoing, a natural leader who could motivate others easily.
Coleman described Green as a silly, witty and excitable confidant.
At her family's church, Victory Ministries International, Green worked with the children in the congregation and read
announcements, said Lenora Howze, a family friend and associate pastor.
During her last visit home, Green went to a movie with her aunt, as she always did, and went roller skating, a favorite
Her father, Garry Green Sr., watched videos Monday of Green participating in ROTC drill competitions in high school. Her mother, Yvonne Green, said she couldn't bear to hear her daughter's voice and instead sought comfort in the photos taken on that overcast Sunday in July.
Her brother, too, reflected on the recent gathering.
“It was a perfect day,” he said. The Greens said they are planning a local service in addition to a military funeral in
NOTE: Specialist Green will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on 26 August 2005.
Funeral of Md.'s first woman killed in Iraq unites community
Thee last time Army Specialist Toccara Renee Green was home in Rosedale, she told her brother, “Just don't let them forget about me.” The conversation would be one of the last Garry Green Jr. would have with his younger sister.
On Thursday, family, friends, state and military officials did not forget Toccara Green. They celebrated the life of the 23-year-old, affectionately known as “Tee” or “Baby Girl Green.”
Green was killed in an ambush in Iraq on August 14, 2005, when several bombs detonated near her unit during convoy operations in Al Asad.
She was a part of the Army's 57th Transportation Company, 548th Corps Support Battalion in Fort Drum, N.Y.
As mourners filed into New Psalmist Baptist Church, a picture slideshow of Green, the first Maryland woman killed in combat in Iraq, played on a big-screen television.
Several red, white and blue floral arrangements lined on the floor in front of the open casket, which was later closed and covered with the U.S. flag.
Those in attendance were encouraged to celebrate, but sadness still overcame many. A member of the U.S. Army Honor Guard, who was standing at the coffin, began to cry; her tears were wiped away by a Baltimore policewoman.
The mood would change as Victory Ministries International Praise and Worship Team led the packed church in a some high-energy musical selections. Pastor Troy Smith presided over the service.
Others who attended were U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley.
“She gave her blood, sweat, tears and life,” Cummings said. “We gather here not because Toccara died, but because she lived.
“Though many may disagree with the war … she was pursuing her dream.”
O'Malley said, “War is real. While it may happen far away, it can hit close to home.” He referred to Green as “the pride of our city.”
Army Spc. Nicole Coleman read a poem she wrote, and shared some memories of her friend, whom she first met in basic training. She said they were delighted when they were assigned to the same unit.
“Toccara was not just a friend,” said Coleman. “She was the sister I never had.”
“You will be forever missed and loved,” said Coleman looking to Green's closed casket. “I'll see you when I get there; save a seat for me.”
According to her mother Yvonne Green, Toccara was three months from finishing her second tour of duty when she was killed. Her last trip home was in early August; she returned to Iraq on August 8, 2005. She had served two years and seven months in the Army.
Her brother is a Marine staff sergeant stationed at Norfolk, Virginia, and her father Garry Green Sr. is a Baltimore Police Detective.
Green will be buried Friday at the Arlington National Cemetery.
The casket of Army Specialist Toccara Renee Green of Rosedale, Maryland, is carried to a
gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery Friday, August 26, 2005
Brigadier General James Terry presents the flag which covered the casket of Army
Specialist Toccara Renee Green of Rosedale, Maryland, to her parents, Yvonne and Garry Green, at
Arlington National Cemetery Friday, August 26, 2005
Baltimore Police detective Garry Green looks at his daughter's casket following a
graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery Friday, August 26, 2005
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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