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Three 1st Cavalry deaths reported in Iraq

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Posted: Thursday, August 5, 2004 12:00 pm | Updated: 3:13 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Debbie Stevenson

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD The Army on Wednesday announced the names of three 1st Cavalry Division soldiers who died this week in Iraq.

Two of the soldiers, Spc. Justin B. Onwordi and Pfc. Harry N. Shondee Jr., died after an improvised explosive device detonated near their up-armored Humvee while on patrol Monday in Baghdad, according to a news release from the III Corps and Fort Hood public affairs office.

Onwordi, 28, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, who listed Chandler, Ariz., as his home of record, died Monday, while Shondee, 19, of Ganado, Ariz., died Tuesday of injuries he suffered in the incident, the release stated.

Onwordi, a health care specialist assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, entered the Army in January 2001 and had been assigned to Fort Hood since Oct. 20, 2003.

Shondee, a medical laboratory specialist assigned to the same unit, entered the Army in July 2003 and had been assigned to Fort Hood since Nov. 5, 2003.

The incident is under investigation, the release stated.

A third soldier, Sgt. Tommy L. Gray, 34, died Tuesday after being trapped between two vehicles in a unit motor pool in Taji, Fort Hood officials said.

The three soldiers' deaths marked the end of nearly a month without casualties for the military's largest post, which has rotated two divisions, a corps and support command to the region since the U.S.-led war began in 2003.

Gray, an M1 Abrams tank system mechanic, was assigned to Charlie Company, 215th Forward Support Battalion.

A native of Roswell, N.M., he joined the Army in April 1990 and had been assigned to Fort Hood since March 1999.

His awards included the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Fort Hood officials told The Associated Press.

The incident is under investigation, the release stated.

The Fort Hood-based division deployed in March with National Guard units to spend at least a year in Baghdad. It is expected to return to Fort Hood beginning in March. Other Fort Hood units in Iraq include III Corps and the 13th Corps Support Command.

The deaths of Gray, Onwordi and Shondee bring to 90 the number of Fort Hood soldiers who have died in Iraq since the post's involvement there began in January 2003 with the deployments of the support command and the 4th Infantry Division. Another Fort Hood soldier died in Kuwait City, Kuwait.

Of that number, 40 have been from the 1st Cavalry Division.

Contact Debbie Stevenson at deborah@kdhnews.com

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