Fort Bragg soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Posted February 4, 2010 6:59 a.m. EST
Updated February 4, 2010 9:52 a.m. EST
Fort Bragg, N.C. — The Pentagon announced late Wednesday that two Fort Bragg-based soldiers died in combat in Afghanistan.
Capt. Daniel Whitten, 28, of Grimes, Iowa, and Pfc.Zachary Lovejoy, 20, of Albuquerque, N.M., died when the vehicle they were driving struck an improvised explosive device in Zabul Province on Tuesday.
Both soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg.
"Capt. Whitten and Pfc. Lovejoy were beloved members of the task force," said Lt. Col. David I. Oclander, commander of the 1-508th PIR. "They lived their lives to the fullest extent possible in everything they did. Their lives inspired us, and their memories will drive us to honor them."
Lovejoy enlisted in the Army as an infantryman in August 2008, attending One Station Unit Training and Basic Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga. He was assigned as assistant machine gunner with the 1-508th PIR at Fort Bragg. He was serving on his first deployment.
Whitten was commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 2004, then completed Infantry Officers Basic Course, Basic Airborne School and Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga. He was promoted to commander of Company C in August 2009. He had previously served a four-month deployment in Iraq and a 15-month deployment in Afghanistan.
"Dan and Zachary will be missed by all of C Company," said platoon leader 1st Lt. Scott Haran. "We will all dedicate ourselves fully to their memory and to their legacy."
Whitten's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Senior Parachutist's Badge and the Ranger Tab.
Lovejoy's awards and decorations include the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Basic Parachutist's Badge.
Lovejoy is survived by his parents, Mike and Terry Lovejoy, and his sister, Ashley Lovejoy.
Whitten is survived by his wife, Starr Whitten, and his parents, Dan and Jill Whitten.
"To Starr and Mr. and Mrs. Lovejoy, you are in our thoughts and prayers," Haran said.
The military said that a memorial in their honor will be held in Afghanistan.