Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Staff sergeant killed returning from service for fellow soldier

From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer


Staff Sgt. Jeffery Hartley had traveled from his combat outpost to Forward Operating Base Rustimiyah to mourn a fellow soldier, killed days earlier by a roadside bomb.

Such is not uncommon for the soldiers of the close-knit 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team.

Many of those who attended the memorial service for Sgt. Darren Dhanoolal did not know him personally.

But he was a member of the Sledgehammer Brigade.

Enough said.

Hartley, a staff sergeant with the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, was leading his platoon back to Combat Outpost Salie following the memorial service when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

Hartley, one of three soldiers in his vehicle, was killed.

News of Hartley's April 8 death was made public a couple of days later. But the details surrounding the trip to the memorial service were not released until much later.

Hartley, of Eagle Lake, Texas, was no stranger to Fort Benning. He had served three deployments with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment before joining the 1-10 and deploying twice more in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the "Rock Support" battalion.

"He simply was one of the finest leaders I have ever known," said Capt. Drew Staples, commander of Headquarters Battery. "He combined a sense of mission with a human touch that will be hard-pressed to ever be duplicated."

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