Local News

Benson Native Among 9 Killed in Iraq Attack

Posted April 24, 2007 6:16 p.m. EDT
Updated April 24, 2007 8:00 p.m. EDT

— Nine members of the 82nd Airborne died in an attack in Diyala Monday night. Now, a family in Benson says their son is among the dead.

Army officials told the family of Sgt. Clint Moore that the former Benson resident and South Johnston High School student was killed in Iraq on Monday. Moore was serving his second tour of duty in the Middle East.

The names of the nine soldiers killed by a car bomb have not been officially released. The soldiers were members of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Bragg.

The news of Moore’s death spread quickly through Benson on Tuesday. One of those affected by the tragedy was was South Johnston assistant principal Herb Monson.

"Regardless of our political affiliations, we don't like to hear about GIs getting killed anywhere,” Monson said. “It's just bad any time you lose a person before they have a chance to live."

Moore graduated from South Johnston High School in 1998.

In September 2003, he returned to his alma mater and took down a yellow ribbon that classmates had hung during his first deployment. Moore held back tears as he told friends how much the gesture meant as he carried out his duty half a world away.

Moore's sister told WRAL the family expects his body to be returned home in the next seven to 10 days.

Fort Bragg chaplain Maj. Jim Brisson, who's responsible for breaking the news to spouses of fallen soldiers, said the notification of families was still under way Tuesday evening and has been since noon Monday.

The loss was the largest for the 82nd Airborne since June 1969, when 12 paratroopers were ambushed and killed in Vietnam, division spokesman Maj. Tom Earnhardt said, citing division historical records.

Earnhardt said 106 soldiers from the division have been in killed in combat since Sept. 11, 2001. Monday’s deaths come less than two months after another deadly episode for the 82nd Airborne, when seven paratroopers were killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb on March 5. Four from the 5th Squadron were killed April 7 by an improvised explosive device.

Twenty paratroopers from the same division were wounded in Monday's blast, which was also the single greatest loss of life for American ground forces in Iraq since December 1, 2005, when a roadside bomb killed 10 Marines and wounded 11 inside an abandoned building near Fallujah. A civilian interpreter was also wounded in the attack.

Fifteen of the wounded suffered only superficial injuries and returned to duty. Five others were evacuated to a military hospital, but none of them has life-threatening injuries, Earnhardt said.