Died November 01, 2007 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom
30, of New Auburn, Wis.; assigned to 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Nov. 1 in Shubayshen, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near her vehicle.Wisconsin native killed in Iraq
The Associated Press
NEW AUBURN, Wis. — A New Auburn native whose passion was barrel-racing died when an improvised explosive device exploded near her Humvee in Iraq, her mother said Nov. 3.
Army 2nd Lt. Tracy Alger, 30, died Nov. 1, according to her mother Pauline Knutson, of New Auburn.
Army 2nd Lt. Tracy Lynn Alger - Honor The Fallen - Honoring those who fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan - MilitaryTimes.com
Below is an email I received Nov. 8th, 2007 that Honors Lt.Alger and shows we are all Brothers & Sisters.
I have been wanting to put out an update for the past week and a half, but I've just been swamped. I promise that I will send something shortly. What I want to do today, though, is to paint a picture for you of the face of this war.
I took a short flight last night on a Blackhawk helicopter, from Camp Striker to FOB Dragon (Forward Operating Base). It was already dark when we got picked up - the helos landed at our LZ (landing Zone) and the crew signaled us with flashlight flashes to let us know we could approach and board. We lifted off into the dark night, lights out to avoid attention. For those of you who haven't ridden - or don't like to ride - in a helicopter, it's a bit like being on a crazy ferris wheel that does more than go round and round, and it's noisy as hell.
I could see the lights of Baghdad below - some electric, many fires, but there were no lights for us - just the shadowy outlines of my brothers in the Blackhawk. Occasionally someone would turn his head to look out the window and I'd notice the cat-eyes glowing on the back of his helmet. There was no talking - it's too noisy, and shouting gets old quickly. Besides, your shouts only carry to the guy next to you.
We dropped onto Dragon LZ after about a ten-minute flight, where we were expected and picked up by Soldiers with Gators who took us to the Headquarters. We dropped magazines from our weapons and cleared them on the way, and then dropped our helmets and flak vests along the wall at the HQ building.
We all noticed, but did not dwell on the memorial set up in the Dragon assembly hall. Boots, medals in cases, rifle with helmet on top, dog tags dangling off the pistol grip, a picture of the fallen Soldier. We were here because the Rakkasans had sustained our first combat casualty. "Sustained a casualty" sounds so formal and military, I know, but that's the Army for you - cold and impersonal. We're all business, don't you know.
As we waited for the service to begin, many of us stood around and discussed the business of the day. It's rare to have a few minutes when you simply will not be doing anything else, and crass or not, we took advantage of the opportunity to connect outside of the usual run of meetings, briefings, missions, and generally avoided talking about the fallen Soldier. But that's the Army for you - cold and impersonal.
Eventually, the Company was formed up and stood there in front of the memorial, waiting. Waiting for what? The distinguished guests, of course. The Division Commander, a two-star general, was due in, and we couldn't start the service without him. He wasn't anything to the fallen Soldier, but he's a politician (you have to be at that level) so he came to offer his condolences. Just one more example of the bureaucracy we deal with every day, even around a memorial service. But again - that's the Army for you - cold and impersonal.
As the service began, I noticed the precision of the procession of speakers. The Battalion commander, the Company commander, the close friends offering remembrances, the Chaplain providing guidance and words of hope for the living. But all of it timed - the chain of command and friends each get four minutes, and the Chaplain gets ten minutes. Like clockwork. So despite the emotional remembrances that made it obvious the fallen Soldier was respected and well-liked, it was obvious that we still had business to do and we were not going to linger unnecessarily. But that's the Army for you - cold and impersonal.
I listened through it all, empathizing with my brothers in arms who had lost one so close to them, but I hadn't known the fallen Soldier, hadn't even known of the Soldier, until the fatal incident was reported up to Brigade a few days earlier. I remained composed throughout. Because like so many of my brothers, I too can be cold and impersonal.
At the end of the remembrances, the First Sergeant called the Company to attention and began the final roll call. "Private John Smith!" he called, and Private Smith promptly sounded off with a hearty "Here, First Sergeant!" "Specialist Allen Murphy!" called the First Sergeant, and Specialist Murphy responded with a loud "Here, First Sergeant," just like Smith. "Lieutenant Alger!" he called next, and received no response. I could feel the distance between me and the deceased rapidly closing, and tears welled up in my eyes. "Lieutenant Tracy Alger!" he called again, but again there was no response from Lieutenant Alger. "Second Lieutenant Tracy Lynn Alger!" he called out for the last time, and there was still no response. Lieutenant Alger was not going to answer, and I wept for her, for her Army brothers and sisters, for her family - though I had not known her. She was one of us - one of the few who cared enough to step up when almost nobody else will - and she was gone. I wept for one I had not known, and I'm just about in tears again as I write this - but that's the Army for you.
There were three volleys of M16 fire, and the bugler sounded Taps. At the end of Taps, the Soldiers lined up to pay their last respects, stepping up to the memorial and saluting, many of them dropping to one knee to offer a silent prayer, or drop a token of remembrance in front of Lieutenant Alger's boots. Then came the biggest fellow in the Company, a Specialist who was a bull of a man (if anyone can be considered fully a man at 21 or 22 years). He paid his respects, and as he turned from the memorial I could see tears streaming down his face, his countenance filled with anguish over his fallen sister. And that is the Army for you.
Our first combat loss is a testament to the face of this war. We lost 2LT Tracy Alger, a bright woman of 30, to the same sort of IED that you hear about in the news. In this war, there are no front lines. There are no rear areas. When you leave the front gate of your Camp, you are in Indian country. Don't misunderstand - it's not all bad. But when it is bad, there is no discrimination.
y'all take care, and I'll talk to you again soon.
Edited by Biak, 06 March 2010 - 06:18 PM.