Two Iowa soldiers died over the weekend in Iraq, including an Army reservist aboard a helicopter that crashed and killed 12 people, said relatives and U.S. Army officials.
Maj. Stuart Anderson, 44, of Dubuque, was on his second tour of duty in the Gulf region when the Black Hawk helicopter went down Saturday in northern Iraq. The same day, Sgt. Nathan Field, 23, of Lehigh, was killed when his Humvee was hit by a civilian vehicle in Umm Qasr in southern Iraq.
Field was a member of the Army Reserve's 4249th Port Security Company, in Pocahontas. Anderson was assigned to the Reserve's 3rd Corps Support Command in Des Moines.
Officials at Fort Des Moines said they had no additional information about Field or his death.
Anderson's family is mourning the major's death at their home in Hoffman, Minn., about 20 miles west of Alexandria. Anderson was a graduate of Benson High School in Benson, Minn., and North Dakota State University, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota.
"He loved to talk," Anderson's father, Claremont Anderson, told KSTP-TV of St. Paul. "And he was an avid family man."
Stuart Anderson had been living in Dubuque with his wife Tori, and daughters Keely and Kirsten. Anderson, a welder, would have been home this fall, his family said.
U.S. military officials said the UH-60 Black Hawk crashed just before midnight Saturday about seven miles east of Tal Afar, a northern city near the Syrian border that has seen heavy fighting with insurgents.
Anderson's father said he and his wife, Nancy, saw the report of the helicopter crash but didn't know whether it involved their son until the soldier's wife called from Dubuque to share the news Sunday night.
That's when Claremont Anderson went numb, and reminded himself that thousands of other American families are in the same grief.
"I'm so proud of all of them," he said, then took a long pause. "But it's the price we pay for freedom."
Claremont Anderson said his son had served 20 years in the National Guard but was unable to retire last year because retirements were frozen to maintain troop levels for Iraq. He had served in Kuwait and Iraq on his first tour.
"He was real enthusiastic the first time he went over there," Claremont Anderson said. "This time, the joy was kinda out of it. He knew he had to go because of honor."