Maj. Gen. John F. Campbell, Commander of the 101st Airborne Division, announced Thursday the deaths of six 1st Brigade Combat Team soldiers killed March 29 during a battalion-sized operation in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.
One Afghan Army soldier was also killed during the operation.
The names of two soldiers were released Wednesday — Staff Sgt. Bryan A. Burgess, 29, of Cleburne, Texas, and Pfc. Dustin J. Feldhaus, 20, of Glendale, Ariz.
On Thursday, the Department of Defense released the names of the other four — Sergeant 1st Class Ofren Arrechaga, 28, of Hialeah, Fla.; Staff Sgt. Frank E. Adamski, 26, of Moosup, Conn.; Specialist Jameson L. Lindskog, 23, of Pleasanton, Calif.; and Private Jeremy P. Faulkner, 23, of Griffin, Ga.
All six were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
Speaking from his headquarters at Bagram Army Airfield in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Campbell reported that a number of insurgents were killed during the operation, undertaken with the support of Afghan National Army forces, and that large caches of weapons and munitions were found. He said that the operation, called Operation Strong Eagle, was a planned operation and not part of an anticipated insurgent spring offensive.
"We knew we'd get a fight," Campbell said. Over the winter, in order to make conditions as unfavorable as possible for an anticipated ramp-up of insurgent activity this spring, the division struck hard against insurgents who remained on the Afghanistan side of the border with Pakistan.
Despite the most recent losses, which bring the division's total killed in action to 117, Campbell said that morale remains high, as evidenced by the over 100 percent re-enlistment rate. Another mass re-enlistment for the 1st BCT is scheduled for some time in April, with at least 101 more soldiers expected to retake the oath.
Campbell added that the soldiers are mostly re-enlisting for their present duty station, Fort Campbell.
At that point in the video teleconference, Campbell reached into his rucksack where he keeps cards with the photos and information of every soldier lost in this deployment. He keeps them — 117 of them now — with him wherever he goes, along with another stack of 78 cards representing the losses of Free Polish and French forces attached to the 101st.
Campbell said he does not allow himself to forget the sacrifices of those soldiers and their families.
Arrechaga entered the Army in February 2001 and arrived at Fort Campbell in July 2001. He was an infantryman, assigned to Bravo Company. He is survived by his wife, Seana Arrechaga, and son, Alston Arrechaga, of Clarksville. He is also survived by his daughter, Tristian Arrechaga, of Benton, Ky.; mother, Marta Alvarez; and father, Ofren Arrechaga, of Clarksville.
Adamski entered the Army in March 2005 and arrived at Fort Campbell in April 2009. He was an infantryman, assigned to Charlie Company. He is survived by his wife, Danielle Adamski, and daughter, Victoria Adamski, of Clarksville. He is also survived by his father, Frank Adamski, of Volutown, Conn., and mother, Susan Adamski, of Westbury, N.Y.
Lindskog entered the Army in August 2008 and arrived at Fort Campbell in April 2009. He was a combat medic, assigned to Headquarters and headquarters Company. He is survived by his father, Curtis Lindskog, of Livermore, Calif., and mother, Donna Walker, of Pleasanton, Calif.
Faulkner joined the Army in January 2009 and arrived at Fort Campbell in June 2009. He is survived by his father John Faulkner of Rex, Ga., and mother, Julia Berry, of Griffin, Ga.
A memorial service will be held in Afghanistan. Fort Campbell holds a monthly Eagle Remembrance Ceremony. The next ceremony will be at 4 p.m. April 13.
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