By Debbie Stevenson
Killeen Daily Herald
The soldiers were doing what they loved when they died, flying high and living their dreams, their families said.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon confirmed the two Apache pilots killed Saturday in Iraq belonged to the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Hood.
Capt. Timothy J. Moshier, 25, of Albany, N.Y., and Chief Warrant Officer-3 Michael L. Hartwick, 37, of Orrick, Mo., died in Baghdad when their AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter went down during a patrol southwest of the Iraqi capital.
Both soldiers were assigned to the 4th Infantry's 4th Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, Aviation Brigade at Fort Hood.
"Our family appreciates the public concern in our time of loss and grief," Moshier's family said in a statement released through III Corps at Fort Hood.
"Tim made the ultimate sacrifice doing what he loves the most, flying his Apache," they said. "We ask that you respect our need for privacy at this time."
Moshier joined the military in June 2002 and was assigned to the aviation brigade's Headquarters Company after arriving at Fort Hood in March 2004, a III Corps news release stated.
Hartwick joined the military in August 1992 and was assigned to the 4th Infantry in June 2004.
"My husband, CW3 Michael Hartwick, died while fulfilling his life dream of flying the AH-64 Apache helicopter while serving his country," his wife, Kerri, said in a statement also made through III Corps. "He was a true patriot."
Hartwick, who also had been deployed to Kosovo, was with the 3rd Infantry Division during the initial invasion of Iraq. He was interviewed by the unit's public affairs office about fighting on March 26, 2003, that secured Kifl, a northern suburb of Najaf.
The division's ground forces were working with the helicopters and also had cover from U.S. and British air force planes. The helicopters came under fire from surface-to-air missiles, but none were hit.
"We're proud to do it," said Hartwick, who at the time was assigned to the 3rd Infantry's Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment at Fort Stewart, Ga. "It's pretty apparent over the past few days that 1/3 Aviation is the shockwave in front of the spearhead in southern Iraq."
Both soldiers left Fort Hood for Iraq in December.
Military officials in Baghdad said Monday that the crash west of Youssifiyah might have been "due to possible hostile fire."
Youssifiyah is in what is called the "triangle of death," a religiously mixed area known for attacks by Sunni extremists against Shiites traveling between Baghdad and religious shrines south of the capital, The Associated Press reported.
The 4th Infantry quickly condemned a video posted Wednesday on the Internet claiming to show insurgents dragging the body of one of the pilots after the crash.
"We are outraged that anyone would create and publish such a despicable video for public exposure," Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington, the 4th Infantry's spokesman in Baghdad, said in a statement to CNN and other news outlets. "The terrorists continue to demonstrate their immoral disregard for human dignity and life."
Parts of the video, which the military cautioned that while appearing to represent the crash site could not be confirmed as authentic, were blurry. The face of the man was not shown and his clothes were so tattered it was impossible to tell if he was wearing an American military uniform. He appeared to be wearing military fatigues, the AP reported.
The time and date stamp on the video was Sunday, April 2, and runs from 4:03 p.m. to 4:08 p.m., although the militant group, the Shura Council of Mujahedeen, said its military wing shot down the aircraft on Saturday, the AP reported.
The stamp shows the minutes and seconds do not run sequentially and the scenes appear disjointed, suggesting the tape was altered. However, an expert on evaluating such tapes told the AP that, "On an initial review, it does appear to be what it purports to be."
The Army in a statement posted Sunday on the Multinational Force-Iraq Web site noted the pilots' "remains were recovered following aircraft-recovery operations at the crash site."
The crash remains under investigation, the military stated Wednesday.
Hartwick's awards include the Air Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the Air Force Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation for the Army and Air Force, two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, two National Defense Service Medals, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Army Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Basic Army Aviator Badge and the Basic Aviation Badge.
Moshier's awards include the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Parachutist Badge, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Basic Army Aviator Badge.
Contact Debbie Stevenson at email@example.com