And now I have names
Correction from Philip: Note: SPC Wood was not transferred to B Co. SPC Jason Ford was killed in the assault on CPT Kurth's HMMV. There was a SNAFU that I will avoid in the future. My apologies.
13 March 2004
My Company Commander, CPT John F. Kurth, was killed at 0500 hours. SPC Wood, a recent rehabilitative transfer from C Company was also killed. 3 other soldiers were critically wounded and were flown to Lahnstuhl, Germany. They were in a three vehicle convoy of HMMV’s (High Mobility Multi-wheeled Vehicles). The mission was to clear the route of IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) placed along the route during the night. They missed one, it did not miss them. The cowards sneak out at night, dig holes, and leave bombs in and on the sides of roads. They use explosives, 155mm and 105mm Artillery shells, 60mm Mortar shells, grenades, mines … you get the fucking point. The bombs are remote or radio detonated, they prefer to target the middle vehicles of convoys (usually where the senior ranking officers are), or light skinned vehicles.
CPT Kurth, also known by his peers as Hans, was a West Point graduate. Soldiering was a labor of love for him. He is worth several hundred thousand dollars, probably more. He owns land, including an apartment building that generated a healthy income. His heart wanted to be a soldier, not the savvy businessman his bank account reflected. In a world of excess, he was the picture of moderation. He drove an early model Blazer that smelled of mildew, and stayed dirty from his frequent romps through the training area. He would walk barefoot through the company area to use the showers, until the XO gave him a pair of 99 cent flip-flops the CO was too cheap to buy himself. I constantly pressured him to take his European Motorcycle Test. He has a Harley Davidson 1200 Sportster he bought from a soldier, it is in storage, he has never ridden it. The one luxury he afforded himself, and he never got to play with it. Saba liked him. He would always stop what he was doing in his office to pet her. He was the best Company Commander I have had in 11 years of service. He lived in his office for the last 8 months before we deployed to Iraq. He spent every day reading after action reviews of the units that were here before us. He was present at every range, and supervised every training event the Company did. He wanted to make sure that every soldier got the information they needed to survive. He was a true warrior. He developed the Bushmaster Fighting Program which taught every soldier hand to hand combat tactics. He could bench press over 300 pounds, run a marathon, and road march farther, with more weight than anyone in the Battalion. Everyone knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, he would win any knife or gun fight he got into. He was the embodiment of the Warrior Ethos. He will be remembered.
I did not expect to have this happen yet. It has only been six days. I do not want to upset anyone, but this is the reality of the mission here. This incident will help my soldiers to focus on what is important to them. I do not know if I should describe the details like this. I do not know how I expect you to react. Try not to worry about me specifically. That is not my intent by telling you this information. I am the Commander of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, I am a subject matter expert on the employment of my weapon, and it is a big ass piece of metal with reactive armor. Shit Happens beyond our control. I do not feel like writing anymore today.
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Tracked on Apr 13, 2004 2:36:31 PM
All I can say is thank you. Thanks you for your service and thank you for your words. May you come home safe.
Posted by: Joel | Mar 15, 2004 10:23:37 PM
Thank you for your kind words about my childhood friend. It is comforting to know Hans has not changed since leaving home for West Point. Thank you for all you do everyday. May Hans be remembered eternally, fight with dignity and fight to come home safe.
Posted by: Mark | Mar 16, 2004 4:16:10 PM
Hans was a beautiful soul and will be remembered not only for his bravery, but for the lives he has touched without even knowing he did so. Our children will remain living in a world of freedom because of the unwavered pride, loyalty and heroism Hans and his fellow men have shown. Our thoughts are with you all.
Posted by: Kim and Jeff | Mar 16, 2004 7:02:40 PM
Thank you for your description of the Hans I remember from my year on BDE staff with him. I left the BDE almost two years ago but kept in contact with Hans and others. He will be remembered and was loved by many. I tremble as I write these words and cannot believe what happened - continue on and avenge his life - he would want it no other way. Goodbye Hans - I loved you like a brother.
Posted by: Dirk Ringgenberg | Mar 17, 2004 6:30:41 AM
Hans wasn't just a brave soldier. He was a loving father to his beautiful, beautiful son. I am printing your comments for John Aleksander to read when he is older. I know he will appreciate them. Right now he just doesn't understand that his Daddy is gone. He was used to having Daddy absent for long periods of time and I think maybe he expects to go to the airport any day now and pick him up. I wish we could.
Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org | Mar 17, 2004 10:05:07 AM
i only new hans from his high school days and his team became a state champion so was hans in life a true champion we will all miss him but knowing hans he will be guarding heavens gates with all those who have gone before him thanks from a vet this web site will help a lot of peopleto understand what the words serve and protect really mean god bless all who serve
Posted by: don carol | Mar 17, 2004 7:50:53 PM
Our hearts go out to the Kurth family and all of the friends across the nation and world who have lost a brave soul and a fine young man. It was a delight to watch Hans grow up and to be at his graduation from West Point when our nephew, a fellow classmate, graduated on that same day. What a moment of pride. We will all grieve a very long time for this fine young man who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and the world.
Posted by: Sherry & Larry | Mar 22, 2004 12:28:36 PM
I knew your Dad in high school and I know he's worried over you, but I know too he is proud. I too am so very proud and grateful for what you are doing. I havead severa of your posts and your your pride, ability and professionalism shine through your grief and travails. Godspeed to you and all your brothers.
Posted by: Casey Bergin | Mar 22, 2004 5:12:20 PM
My "adopted" son Jason Hoff cbtry 1-7fa is at Lancer...his brother Michael just got back to Baumholder after a year in Iraq. Needless to say he has been celebrating since he arrived at base and doesn't have to look over his shoulder all the time! God bless you all. We back in the states wait for the day when you, too, are found celebrating for the 10th day straight! Love you all, and hello to PFC Hoff.
Posted by: Debbie Marsh | Mar 27, 2004 7:32:21 PM
Wendy, My heart goes out to you, your son and the rest of CPT Kurth's family and military family. My son is there with the 1/26 only in Bayji. I've managed to collect a group of family members online who's soldiers are all scattered about with the 1st ID. Everyday we check in and the day we heard about the 1/18 all our hearts dropped, already..so soon, we've lost someone. Please know you have a whole family grieving and praying for you and your little boy. You will be in my prayers. Pam Proud Army Mom of SPC Adam
Posted by: Pamela Goodwill | Mar 28, 2004 7:20:40 PM
I worry daily about my husband at Lancer and I have many more long nights ahead of me. I seldom hear from him and for never more than a moment or two at a time. I have recently heard of a casualty of one of our friends but have not had it confirmed. I pray for the day that I don't have to wake up and look at a casualties list to know if our friends and my husband are alright. God speed to you all and we hope you all return safe.
Posted by: KFisher | Apr 11, 2004 12:33:16 PM
My son PFC Chris Lonergan is in the HQ Platoon of a Battery at Camp Lancer, Iraq. Spent his first two months of 'permanent post' at Baumholder before you all went South to Kuwait. We talk to him often, and I am continuously encouraged by his reports. Sounds like you NCO's in particular have shown courage and determination in making Lancer a model firebase.
Please let him know that we are following all of you from this blog and that we're praying for all of you every day. You are the best of America and we will not forget the great sacrifices you are making!
Posted by: Mark Lonergan | May 3, 2004 12:51:35 AM
as a relative of hans it was quite an honor to hear Lt. Alex Haseley speak in Columbus at my school for veterans day. his speech about hans was one of the most moving things i've ever heard. He came to wisconsin from georgia on his own r&r time to speak about him... God Bless you Lt. Haseley, and all soldiers who are fighting for, or have fought for our freedom.
Posted by: | Nov 12, 2004 8:07:54 PM
HEY JUST WANTED TO SAY CAPT. KURTHS DRIVER WAS MY BROTHER MY YOUNGEST HE WAS NO MUSLCE SKILL OR FINEST BUT ALL HEART IAM HIS OLDEST BROTHER EX- INFANTRY AND A CURRENT COUNTY POLICE OFFICER I THANK ALL WHO GAVE AID AS HIS COMMANDER AND JASON GAVE THEIR LIVES ON THAT DAY. I MISS YOU JASON
Posted by: THOMAS | Apr 19, 2005 1:24:25 AM
I met Hans while he was a Cadet at West Point. That was in 1995. I met him at Nwk Airport and returned him to the Academy after he had gone home to visit his family one Christmas.
He was a wonderful young man, and always brought warmth to his conversations with me. I would stob by his window on the first floor of Eisenhower Barracks and drop him and his roomate off food supplies and snacks from time to time.
God bless his memory and the wonderful family he came from.
Brian J. Figueroa, Major
Nanuet, New York 10954
Posted by: Major Brian J. Figueroa | Mar 25, 2008 1:41:04 PM