The Mother’s Day Project

War is Personal

Archive for Iraq War

Spc. Ashley Sietsema

Ashley Sietsema, 20, a member of the Illinois Army National Guard serving Operation Iraqi Freedom, died November 12th in Kuwait City. She died of injuries suffered in a one vehicle crash when the ambulance she was driving overturned.

Her life was full of promise, her family and friends said. She married Max Sietsema in April. She had been enrolled at Northern Illinois University prior to being deployed, and hoped to become a nurse.

Ashley Sietsema is the 100th female Coalition soldier to die as a result of serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Christine Ndururi

Spc. Christine Ndururi, 21, died November 5th while enroute to Iraq. According to the Massachusetts Eagle Tribune:

Army Spc. Christine Ndururi of Massachusetts called her family Monday morning to give them the news that her first overseas deployment would be to Kuwait and then Iraq.

The next day the Department of Defense announced that the 21-year-old soldier died of a “non-combat related illness” at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

The family is still waiting for an explanation about how she died.

The public affairs office at Fort Hood, Texas — where Ndururi was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment — released no further details about the death. Spokeswoman Nancy Bourget said it remains “under investigation.”

“She has not been sick,” Ndururi’s father, Wilson Wachira, 45, said yesterday at the family’s home at 46 Woodbine Path. “I’m waiting for them to tell me what happened. She was not ill, unless she was ill after 9 o’clock when she talked to her mother. Before she was deployed there, she had to have a medical checkup.”

Ndururi, an automated logistical specialist, called her mother at 9 a.m. Monday from a pay phone in Rhode Island to tell her about her assignment.

Then the parents heard from the military at 9 a.m. on Tuesday that their daughter was dead.

“To me, she was OK,” said her mother, Mary Mwaniki, 45, recalling the last time she spoke to her daughter. The conversation didn’t last long. Mwaniki, a nursing aide, was at work. She told her daughter to call back, but she never did.

Ndururi enlisted in the Army reserves while a high school senior, her father said. The family moved to Massachusetts from Kenya when she was 16.

Carletta S. Davis

The following report about on the death of Carletta S. Davis, 34, was taken from the Fairbanks Daily News .  Staff Sgt. Davis was killed November 5th when an IED exploded near her humvee in Iraq.

Lavada Napier came to Alaska in 1979 because the wages were much higher than in Louisiana at the time. She left her four children with their grandmother, but after nine months of working, she saved up enough money to move them up here, including her oldest, Carletta.

Napier, who lives in Fairbanks, recounted that Davis was the best-behaved of her children while growing up. An elementary school principal once called her to tell her that two of her younger children had been acting up, and was shocked to learn they were related to her older daughter because Davis was such a model student.

“She didn’t give anyone any trouble,” Napier said. “She was the type of person who always tried to do the right thing.”

Davis enlisted in the Army in 1994, a move that surprised her family.

“I was more afraid for her than herself,” Napier said. “She was scared of spiders and roaches and I said, ‘I hope you know what you’re doing because you’re going to be sleeping outside on the ground.’”

Davis was a health care specialist assigned to the 10th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. She was previously deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1996 and 1997. This was her third tour in Iraq, having served there from April 2003 until March 2004 and from December 2004 until November 2005.

Napier said Davis was worried about returning to Iraq and made sure to spend more time with her family, including her husband and three sons before her most recent deployment.

“I think she was concerned particularly for her children,” Napier said. “She knew the danger of going back a third time.”

She often visited her mother in Fairbanks and was debating between moving there or to Wasilla eventually.

“She came here and said, ‘I don’t know if I can put up with the cold, but you all can, so I should be able to put up with it,’ but she didn’t get that opportunity,” Napier said.

Davis is survived by her mother, husband and three sons, Trey, Theodore and Tyrique.

Tracy Lynn Alger

Alger, 30, died Nov. 1 in Shubayshen, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near her vehicle.  She was a native of New Auburn, Wisconsin.

After signing up for the National Guard, she was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), out of Fort Campbell, Ky.

Alger grew up in New Auburn, attended Chetek High School and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where she studied graphic design.

At River Falls she was also on the rodeo team and served as president of the Wisconsin Girls Barrel Racing Association.

Anamarie Sannicolas Camacho & Genesia Mattril Gresham

The deaths of two female Navy seamen were announced by the Department of Defense on October 24th.  Seaman Anamarie Sannicolas Camacho, 20, and Seaman Genesia Mattril Gresham, 19, were shot and killed October 22 in the barracks of the American military base in Bahrain. The alleged shooter, a male US Navy sailor, is still in critical condition, suffering from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Sarah Holmes

Lance Corporal Sarah Holmes, a member of the British Army since the age of 16, died tragically in a vehicle accident just days before the end of her tour of duty.  She was serving in Qatar at the time of the accident, and died surrounded by her family at a hospital in the U.K.  She was 26 years old.

Staff Sgt. Lillian Clamens

A 35 year old wife and mother of three, Army Staff Sergeant Lillian Clamens was one of two people who died October 10th, according to the Department of Defense.

Insurgents fired rockets on Camp Victory in Baghdad from a nearby abandoned school killing Clamens and Army Spc. Samuel F. Pearson, 28, Westerville, Ohio.

Clamens was assigned to the 1st Postal Platoon, 834th Adjutant General Company, Miami.

Family members say Lillian Clamens was due to return to Homestead, Fla., next week.

More information about Sgt. Clamens and the homecoming celebration being planned by her family can be found here.