Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Kelseyville family mourns son killed in roadside bombing in Pakistan

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Sgt. 1st Class David J. Hartman, 27, and two fellow soldiers died on Wednesday, February 3, 2010, in Timagura, Pakistan after their unit was hit by an improvised explosive device planted by insurgents. Photo courtesy of the US Army Special Operations Command.


 



KELSEYVILLE – A Kelseyville family is mourning the loss of a son, killed this week in Pakistan.


Sgt. 1st Class David J. Hartman, 27, was killed on Wednesday by a terrorist bomb while in Pakistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Department of Defense reported Friday.


Hartman's father, Greg Hartman, and stepmother, Kate, live in the Clear Lake Riviera, while his mother, Mikail Bacon, lives in Pardeeville, Wisc.


The family couldn't be reached for comment on Friday.


However, late Friday their pastor, Victor Rogers, who leads the North Shore Christian Fellowship in Upper Lake, said he just returned from picking the Hartmans up from the Sacramento airport.


He said they had just returned from Delaware, where David Hartman's body had arrived from Pakistan. The young man's body is due to return to California next week, but funeral arrangements are currently undecided.


Hartman and wife, Cherise, have a young son, Michael, and were expecting their second child together.


Officials said Hartman died along with Sgt. 1st Class Matthew S. Sluss-Tiller, 35, of Callettsburg, Ky. – who, like Hartman, was part of the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne), out of Fort Bragg, N.C. – and Staff Sgt. Mark A. Stets, 39, of El Cajon, assigned to the 8th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne), 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne), out of Fort Bragg, N.C.


The men were killed in Timagura, Pakistan – located in the Lower Dir District of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province – when their unit was hit by an improvised explosive device planted by insurgents, the Department of Defense reported.


The United Kingdom's Telegraph newspaper reported that the three deaths were believed to be the first US military deaths to occur in Pakistan.


The US Embassy in Islamabad reported that in addition to the deaths of Hartman, Sluss-Tiller and Stets, two other soldiers were injured in the bomb blast, which occurred at around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday.


Rear Adm. Hal Pittman, director of Communication at U.S. Central Command, said the three men and their fellow members of the military were in Pakistan at the request of that country's government.


The US military had been invited by the Pakistan Frontier Corps to conduct training in Lower Dir, according to the US Embassy. They were attending the opening of a new girls' school that had been renovated through US humanitarian assistance when the bomb went off.


Such schools have become a particular target for insurgents, according to recent press reports.


Pittman said the attack demonstrated “the terrorists' lack of respect for life and their willingness to use violence against women and children for advancing their malign vision.”

 

 

 

 

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Sgt. 1st Class Matthew S. Sluss-Tiller, 35, of Callettsburg, Ky. (right) and Staff Sgt. Mark A. Stets, 39, of El Cajon, Calif., also were killed in Timagura, Pakistan on Wednesday, February 5, 2010, as the result of a roadside bomb. Photos courtesy of the US Army Special Operations Command.
 

 

 

 


Along with the military casualties, the US Embassy reported that several Pakistani citizens – among them children – were killed and injured in the blast.


The US Embassy condemned the bombing. “The carnage at the school in Lower Dir clearly shows the terrorists' vision. The United States and Pakistan are partners in fighting terrorism – and our people are working together to build schools,” according to an agency statement.


Both Hartman and Stuss-Tiller were civil affairs senior noncommissioned officers and had previously deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the war on terror, according to a statement from the US Army Special Operations Command.


Hartman was assigned to Team 622 in Company B, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Abn.), Fort Bragg, N.C.


In November 2002 Hartman deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and in 2004 he supported Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to a Special Forces biography.


"Both Matthew and David are heroes in my mind – they volunteered to come to Army Special Operations and the 95th Civil Affairs Bde. (Airborne), they both believed in what they were doing, and they were committed to helping people in a place where violence against innocent populations was too often commonplace," said Col. Michael J. Warmack, commander, 95th Civil Affairs Bde. "In the pursuit of what they believed, they made the ultimate sacrifice.”


Col. Warmack said the work the men were doing “is terribly important and goes to the heart of strengthening the population’s ability to live free from the stranglehold of extremism.”


Stets, a senior psychological operations sergeant, was on his second deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and also had served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, officials reported.


The bombing is still under investigation, US Army Special Operations Command reported.


David Hartman was born in Merced in 1982. In 2000 he graduated from Kadena High School on Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, and immediately enlisted into the US Army, according to a Special Forces biography.


While in the Army he had completed a number of courses and served previous assignments including holding the position of platoon sergeant with Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, officials reported.


His biography said that he also served in multiple positions with the 50th Signal Battalion, XVIII Airborne Corps, including as an electronic maintenance shop foreman, forced entry switch section team chief and sergeant, senior electronic maintenance technician and senior switch technician.


Officials reported that Hartman's awards included the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary and Service medals, NCO Professional Development Ribbon and Overseas Service Medal.


As of Friday, the Department of Defense reported that 969 members of the military have died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, with 894 of those deaths occurring in and around Afghanistan. Total deaths for Operation Iraqi Freedom stood at 4,378 on Friday.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .


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