11 July 2011

Iowa Red Bull Soldier Killed in Panjshir

Just days or weeks away from his return from a yearlong deployment, Iowa Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker, 39, of Cedar Rapids was killed approximately 9:30 a.m. Afghan time, Sat., July 9 when an Afghan National Directorate of Security (N.D.S.) trooper opened fire on Pasker's vehicle while it was stopped at a traffic control point. The incident took place in Darah District of Panjshir Province near a construction project site. An unidentified U.S. civilian law enforcement professional ("LEP") in Pasker's vehicle was also killed.

Iowa National Guard officials announced Pasker's death at a July 10 press conference at Camp Dodge, Iowa.

Master Sgt. Todd Eipperle of Marshalltown, Iowa, was also injured during the attack. As the driver of a vehicle that preceded Pasker's through the traffic control point, Eipperle reportedly stopped his vehicle when shots were fired, exited his vehicle to return fire and killed Pasker's assailant. The attack is under investigation.

The New York Times reported on the incident here.

Eipperle is receiving treatment at an Army medical facility in Afghanistan. He is a member of Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division, which is headquartered in Boone.

Pasker is a member of Bravo Company, 334th Brigade Support Battalion, headquartered in Cedar Rapids. Assigned as an electronic maintenance supervisor, he was serving in Panjshir as part a small Embedded Training Team (E.T.T.) that advises, mentors, and assists Afghan police. An Iowa National Guard spokesman said Sunday that Pasker owned a contracting business in Eastern Iowa, and brought a hardworking "construction mentality" to his work in Panjshir. Part of his military duties involved monitoring contractor performance on coalition-funded projects.

Pansjhir is traditionally celebrated as one of the safest provinces in Afghanistan, a place in which U.S. military personnel do not typically wear helmets and body armor. (Locals take great pride in the security of their region--neither the Soviets nor the Taliban were able to effectively penetrate the province--and are said to take offense at any suggestion that guests in their valley are not safe.) Also, U.S. personnel in Panjshir routinely travel in unarmed-but-armored pickup trucks or SUVs, rather than Mine-Resistant Ambushed-Protected (M-RAP, pronounced "em-rap") vehicles more familiar to other parts of the country.

Earlier this year, U.S. state department officials in Panjshir anticipated that the province would be wholly "transitioned" to Afghan responsibility as early as Fall 2011.

Pasker had previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2004-2005. He is survived by a wife, his mother and father, one brother, and two sisters. He and his wife reportedly planned to start a family following his pending 2012 retirement from the Iowa Army National Guard. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Eipperle, the senior enlisted officer for Task Force Red Bulls' training team in Panjshir, is in his civilian career the District Director of the Mid-Iowa Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In January, he connected via videoconference Cub Scout Pack 182 in Iowa with an Afghan National Police (A.N.P.) officer in Panjshir. The policeman shared some insights about Afghan life, and taught the scouts some words in the Dari language.

"When I thanked Captain [Sefat] Mire for doing this for our boys, he simply replied, 'It's something I will remember forever,'" Eipperle said at the time.


  1. Thoughts and prayers with the family and friends of SFC Pasker, the unidentified man with him, and thoughts and prayers for Master Sgt Eipperle's recovery.

  2. "They fell in the heat of war
    Some not knowing why
    Soldiers fighting for the greater good
    Who believed in freedom

    "Welcome home"
    The words you wanted to hear
    Waiting... amidst gunfire
    The words that never came

    The war never ended for you -
    Maybe an ambush, explosion, crossfire,
    Or on the battlefield
    You didn't see it coming

    Then a black cloud ascended your vision
    Your body became weightless
    The explosions and gunfire
    You no longer heard

    Leaving behind loved ones
    Learning of your death
    Tears of dismay
    Won't bring you back

    But you are not forgotten"

    SO sorry for your loss

  3. The unexpected loss is felt around the world. As a past ARNG Sgt who is also 39, I feel for his entire family. May they know that every person regardless of residence grieve for their loss. The men who gave so much to us are the reason our lives are filled with hope and prosperity. I am currently in Australia and are praying for you brave men and women. You are and always will be my heroes.


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