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WP: On Iraq Campaign Trail, A Single Shot [View All]

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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 04:51 AM
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WP: On Iraq Campaign Trail, A Single Shot
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washingtonpost.com
On Campaign Trail, a Single Shot
Before Sniper Struck, Platoon Leader Was Encouraging Iraqis to Vote

By Steve Fainaru
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, January 28, 2005; Page A01

MOSUL, Iraq -- The 21-ton Stryker attack vehicles pulled into the neighborhood of al-Whada just after noon. Their rear ramps dropped simultaneously, disgorging dozens of American infantrymen into the cold rain.

The soldiers had multiple tasks on this day. In addition to hunting insurgents and searching houses, they were to help get out the vote for Sunday's national elections. For the next three hours, soldiers armed with assault rifles and election fliers moved warily through al-Whada's muddy streets, trying to get Iraqis to embrace democracy.

The inherent danger of the mission was driven home at 3:30 p.m. A single shot rang out, and 1st Lt. Nainoa K. Hoe, 27, the popular leader of the 2nd Platoon, C Company, 3rd Battalion of the 21st Infantry Regiment, fell dead in the street.

"Treat him! Treat him!" screamed Staff Sgt. Steve Siglock, one of his closest friends. The shot that killed Hoe on Saturday was followed within seconds by a blizzard of gunfire aimed at his exposed platoon. It was already too late for Hoe, but his men stepped directly into the gunfire in a desperate attempt to save him while fending off the unseen insurgents.

On the campaign trail in Iraq, U.S. troops are almost alone. Violence has kept away the election monitors, international peacekeepers and nongovernmental organizations that normally perform the basic tasks of electioneering in nascent democracies. With not even the candidates out on the streets, the role of getting out the vote has fallen to thousands of infantrymen like Hoe, soldiers who are menaced by the possibility of instant death.

MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A42896-20...
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