Post by discoberry on Dec 20, 2011 18:49:45 GMT -5
As the last U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq over the weekend, a crowd gathered in Greensboro, N.C., to honor Army Spec. David Hickman, who died in an explosion Nov. 14, two weeks before he was supposed to go home. Hickman, 23, "bears the symbolic freight" of being the last of nearly 4,500 members of the American military to be killed in a war that began in the tense aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks. Here's what you should know:
What was Hickman's job in Iraq? His unit shipped out from Fort Bragg in May. Hickman — a black belt in taekwondo who jokingly called himself Zeus for his impressive physique — was in a platoon that did "presence patrols," walking through neighborhoods to let insurgents know that American soldiers were still around, Spec. Zack Zornes, a member of Hickman's platoon, tells The Washington Post. "There were days on end where me and Hickman would be sitting in his room, being like: 'Why are we even here? What are we doing?'" Zornes says. "We were just doing police work."
How did Hickman die? The paratrooper from North Carolina was killed when a roadside bomb tore into his armored truck on Nov. 14 — eight years, seven months, and 23 days after the death of Marine Pvt. Jonathan Lee Gifford, the first American killed in the war. Gifford died just two days after the invasion began.