Utah Soldier Dies in Iraq,

Two Others Wounded

 

Written by Maj. Hank McIntire

Published July 20, 2005

   

Sgt. 1st Class Ronald T. Wood, Bravo Battery, 1-148th Field Artillery, died July 16 when his humvee was hit by a roadside bomb in Kirkuk, Iraq.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Greenwell

Sgt. 1st Class Ronald T. Wood, Bravo Battery, 1-148th Field Artillery, died July 16 when his humvee was hit by a roadside bomb in Kirkuk, Iraq.

 

DRAPER, Utah Sgt. 1st Class Ronald T. Wood, Bravo Battery, 1-148th Field Artillery,  based in Logan, Utah, died July 16 in Kirkuk, Iraq, when the humvee in which he was riding was struck by a roadside bomb.

 

Wood, along with Sgt. Christopher L. Olsen and Spc. Erick J. Lund, also of Bravo  Battery, 1-148th, were riding in an up-armored  M1114 and were wearing the prescribed personal protective equipment at the time of the incident. The M1114 has factory-installed armor plating and is the most heavily armored humvee in the Army’s inventory.

 

Olsen took shrapnel to his left leg, and Lund sustained shrapnel wounds to the back of his head, his back and his leg was broken in three places. Both underwent surgery at a nearby military medical facility and were later transported to Germany for further treatment. Both Soldiers are listed in good condition.

 

Wood, of Cedar City, enlisted in the Utah National Guard in 1994 with the 2-222nd Field Artillery. He transferred to the 1-148th in 2003. He was a full-time employee of the Guard when his unit was mobilized in June 2004.

 

Sgt. Christopher Olsen, Bravo Battery, 1-148th Field Artillery, was wounded in the July 16 explosion.

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Christopher Olsen

Sgt. Christopher L. Olsen, Bravo Battery,

1-148thField Artillery, was wounded

 in the July 16 explosion.

“I offer my most heartfelt condolences to Sgt. 1st Class Wood’s family,” said Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, the Adjutant General of the Utah National Guard. “This is a great loss for them and for the Utah National Guard. We’re mindful of the great cost that some families must bear in this war, and we pledge to them our full and complete support to assist them in whatever way we can.”

 

Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., also extended his personal condolences to Wood’s family.

 

“Mary Kaye and I send our deepest sympathies. We greatly appreciate the sacrifice that Sgt. 1st Class Wood has made to help Iraq realize freedom.  He is truly a hero,” Huntsman said.

 

The Utah National Guard has assigned a Casualty Assistance Officer to assist Wood’s family during this difficult time. This officer provides support to the family in every way possible and serves as the liaison between the family and the military for as long as the family may need.

 

Spc. Erick J. Lund, Bravo Battery, 1-148th Field Artillery, was also wounded.

Photo courtey of Mrs. Erick Lund

Spc. Erick J. Lund, Bravo Battery,

1-148thField Artillery, was also wounded.

Wood is the fourth casualty suffered by the Utah National Guard since 9/11 in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. Other members of the Utah Guard who have paid the ultimate price are as follows:

 

-         Sgt. Ryan Stark, Orem, a member of the 1-145th Field Artillery Battalion, died May 27, 2003, in a military vehicle accident at Tooele Army Depot.

 

-         Staff Sgt. Alan Rogers, Kearns, a member of 1-211th Aviation Regiment, died Sept. 29, 2004, in Afghanistan.

 

-         Sgt. Brandon Thomas, Salt Lake City, 19th Special Forces Group, died May 7, 2005, in Baghdad while working as a civilian contractor.

 

Wood’s commander, Capt. Darcy Burt, paid a touching tribute to Wood, calling him “the finest Soldier that the Utah National Guard has to offer.”

 

“Sgt. 1st Class Ronald Wood is the best noncommissioned officer I have ever worked with. He was the total package and I cannot replace him,” Burt wrote. “He has sealed his love for country, duty and honor with his own blood. We will never forget.”