18 July 2011

Updates on Iowa Soldier's Death, Funeral

The July 10 incident in Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker, 39, of Cedar Rapids was shot and killed by a uniformed member of the Afghan intelligence police didn't immediately end with the death of his assailant.

Pasker and uniformed U.S. civilian law enforcement contractor Paul Protzenko of Enfield, Conn., were each killed the morning of July 12, when the Afghan officer stopped their armored pick-up truck at an impromptu traffic control point in Panjshir Province. The driver of another U.S. vehicle, Master Sgt. Todd Eipperle, 46, returned fire, killing the Afghan assailant.

The incident was far from over, however. In a July 14 article, soldiers on the ground told the Des Moines (Iowa) Register's Tony Leys that a mob soon gathered, threatening the U.S. soldiers as they attempted to medically evacuate their casualties:
[Lt. Col Tim Glynn] and a handful of other soldiers had been following in two vehicles a few minutes behind the first two trucks. By the time the second group arrived on the scene, outraged villagers had gathered and were yelling at the Americans. The gunman was from their village, and the villagers might not have understood that he had started the gun battle that led to his death, Glynn said. The villagers threatened to fetch guns and rocket-propelled grenades and attack the rest of the Americans.

Afghan police did little to help quell the crowd, and they urged the Iowa commander to move his soldiers out of the area. Glynn said he refused, and summoned medical evacuation helicopters to the scene. While two of his soldiers prepared a landing zone, Glynn and four others fended off a crowd of 150 to 200 screaming villagers for the 20 to 30 minutes it took for the helicopters to arrive.
Eipperle was himself shot during the incident, and, according to a July 18 update from the Des Moines Register, is back in the United States. Eipperle lives in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Funeral services for Pasker are to be held today, Mon., July 18, 10:30 a.m. at the River of Life Ministries, 3801 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A graveside service will immediately follow, Mount Calvary Cemetery, 375 32nd St. SE, Cedar Rapids.

The funeral takes place during a week in which the 3,200 soldiers of 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division (2-34th BCT) continue to depart from Afghanistan, out-process from federal active-duty in Wisconsin, and arrive home to Iowa, Nebraska, and other states. All of Iowa's Red Bull troops are anticipated to arrive home not later than early August.

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