The New York Times reported today an attack on the MRAP, or Mine Resistant Armored Vehicle, resulted in the first death of a U.S. soldier inside the vehicle. This is categorically false. Three U.S. Army soldiers were killed in an IED attack in Ramadi and Karmah in early 2007, and other soldiers were killed in MRAPs in 2006.
Earlier today I forwarded the article to my friend, Captain Eric Coulson, who is currently serving his second consecutive tour in Iraq (voluntarily). Before moving to Tallil Air Base, Captain Coulson commanded a company of Army engineers dedicated to route clearance in and between Ramadi and Fallujah, and outlying areas like Karmah during the end of 2006 and throughout 2007. Captain Coulson's company from Task Force Badger cleared some of the toughest roads in Iraq.
In February 2007, Captain Coulson's Badgers lost three soldiers in a complex deep-buried IED ambush. His troops were clearing the roads to facilitate the rescue of a helicopter downed by an al Qaeda anti-aircraft team.
Captain Coulson posted about the inaccurate New York Times report at his blog, Badgers Forward.
The New York Times gets it wrong. Corporal Stephen Shannon of Company C, 397th Engineer (Task Force Pathfinder) was killed in Ramadi in January 2007 while riding in an RG-31 and of course Sergeant James Holtom, Sergeant Ross Clevenger, and Private First Class Ray Werner of Company A, 321st Engineer (Task Force Pathfinder) were killed 8 February 2007 while riding in an RG31. A Soldier form the unit we replaced had a Soldier killed while riding in an RG31 in July of 2006 and there have been several incidents of Soldiers getting killed while riding in Buffaloes.
Captain Coulson said either the New York Times failed to do its research, or the Marines failed to report on the Army casualties:
There are two possibilities (1) crummy research on the part of the New York Times or (2) lack of information at the MNF-I Press Center. The reason I was never able to post articles like this one is the MNF-W deemed our mission too sensitive to have press riding along. Of course they let Bill Roggio do it and it was going on else where in theater as demonstrated by the above article, so I have other thoughts I why they would not let the press ride with us. MNF-W might never have let MNF-I know that people had been killed in MRAPs.
The record should stand corrected.
The Danger Room notes two other minor screw-ups in the Times piece.