|From The Seattle Times seattletimes.com
Seattle soldier killed in Afghanistan rocket attack
By The Associated Press and Seattle Times staff
A Seattle man was among nine U.S. soldiers who died Sunday during an attack on a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan.
Cpl. Jason M. Bogar, 25, died after the outpost was attacked by militants with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, according to the Department of Defense. Bogar was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.
Dean Bogar, the slain soldier's grandfather, described his grandson as a "good kid."
"He was a good boy and he was willing to lay down his life for his country and his fellow soldiers," said Bogar, of Enumclaw. "He gave his life to Christ before he left on this last deployment."
Sunday's attack by some 200 militants was the deadliest for the U.S. military in Afghanistan in three years. Rebels fought their way into the newly established base, wounding another 15 Americans and suffering heavy casualties of their own, before the defenders and warplanes could drive them back.
The assault underlined how Islamic militants appear to be gaining strength nearly eight years after the ouster of the Taliban, and the difficulties facing foreign and Afghan forces trying to defeat them.
NATO said the post, which lies amid precipitous mountains close to the Pakistan border, had been vacated, but insisted that international and Afghan troops will "retain a strong presence in that area with patrolling and other means."
"We are committed, now more than ever, to establishing a secure environment that will allow even greater opportunities for development and a stronger Afghan governmental influence," NATO spokesman Capt. Mike Finney said.
Omar Sami, spokesman for the Nuristan provincial governor, said American and Afghan soldiers quit the base on Tuesday afternoon. He said they took the district mayor with them.
Sami said U.S. troops armed local police with more than 20 guns before they left, but that the officers had fled the village and crossed into neighboring Kunar province when 100 militants moved into Wanat.
Seattle Times staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan contributed to the report.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
|From The Seattle PI seattlepi.com
Seattle soldier was one of 9 killed in Afghanistan
Outpost defended in fierce battle against Taliban
Last updated July 16, 2008 10:02 p.m. PT
By MIKE BARBER P-I REPORTER
Outnumbered by nearly four to one, 25-year-old Cpl. Jason Bogar and the eight other American soldiers he died with Sunday were among the small group of nearly 60 American and Afghan troops who fought a hellish battle, resorting to hand-to-hand fighting to prevent at least 200 Taliban militants from overrunning their small remote outpost in Afghanistan.
Bogar's parents, the Rev. Michael Bogar, pastor of the Spiritual Enrichment Center of West Sound on Bainbridge Island, and his mother, Bogar's ex-wife, Carlene Cross of Seattle, an author, college counselor and former KCTS/9 television producer in Seattle, learned of their son's death and heroism Sunday.
Wednesday, they heard more stunning news.
The base the soldiers had lost their lives to hold was being abandoned as indefensible, already quickly occupied by the Taliban, The Associated Press reported, citing military and government sources.
"It was outrageous to me to put those boys out there; they were just sitting ducks," Cross said Wednesday. "They fought for hours, and then got some air help, and turned them back. It is amazing. Jason died a hero, he fought hand to hand and I was told it was just unbelievable. And when (other troops) finally got to them, they were all dead."
She added: "One of the things I hope there will be is an investigation, and I hope they never do that again to any of our guys.
"We are really proud of him, and it's heartbreaking. We have to remember them the way they were and they way they would have wanted us to remember them. "
It was the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan in three years.
Bogar and those killed with him served with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Vicenza, Italy.
The post was only two days old and occupied by 45 U.S. soldiers and 25 Afghan soldiers when it was attacked, The Times of London reported. Taliban fighters reportedly breached the outer defenses but were prevented from overrunning the base only after fierce hand-to-hand fighting and warplanes drove them back, it said.
Just over half of the U.S. garrison was killed or injured, with 15 wounded in the battle, in addition to the nine soldiers killed, The Times said.
Those who died with Bogar were: 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom, 24, of Hawaii; Sgt. Israel Garcia, 24, of Long Beach, Calif.; Cpl. Jonathan R. Ayers, 24, of Snellville, Ga.; Cpl. Jason D. Hovater, 24, of Clinton, Tenn.; Cpl. Matthew B. Phillips, 27, of Jasper, Ga.; Cpl. Pruitt A. Rainey, 22, of Haw River, N.C.; Cpl. Gunnar W. Zwilling, 20, of Florissant, Mo.; and Pfc. Sergio S. Abad, 21, of Morganfield, Ky.
In addition to his parents, Bogar is survived by two sisters, Micael Bogar, and Carise Martindale, and a brother-in-law, Jesse Martindale, a former Marine who served in Iraq.
Cross said her son often volunteered for dangerous missions in part because he was single and felt he could spell married troops from potential hazards.
"He said 'I don't have a wife and I have a real camaraderie with those guys,' " she said.
Bogar attended Bothell High School but, having an independent streak in his teens, joined the Job Corps in Mount Vernon and earned a graduate equivalency diploma while becoming an electrician apprentice.
Though he had been a bit of "a wildcat" in school, Cross said, after going to Iraq and experiencing the death of friends or near-death himself, he grew closer to faith.
"His spirituality was profound," she said.
Bogar was the 24th member of the U.S. armed forces with ties to Washington to die in Afghanistan since the war began nearly seven years ago, shortly after 9/11.
Five have been killed this year as violence in Afghanistan has increased, while casualties in Iraq have decreased.
While a date and time have not been set, memorial services and burial with military honors for Bogar will be held at St. Mark's Cathedral and Lake View Cemetery on Capitol Hill in Seattle.
The many who knew her son, who served with him in the National Guard and in the Army, have poured in messages of condolence with a common thread, Cross said.
"They all said he was a man of valor, and they were honored to serve with him," she said.
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