In my story in this week’s Voice, I wrote about Segun Akintade, who was killed in Iraq in late October after some sort of an IED blew up under his Humvee. Sgt. Gross, who was with him in the truck, guessed the explosive might have been an artillery shell, as is often the case. Akintade’s friends here knew little about what happened that day, apart from the information in the Department of Defense press release, which didn’t say much. As it turned out, the “small-arms” fire was incidental — Gross said someone in the platoon heard it, and fired back in the same direction, but they don’t know whether anyone was hit.
Gross explained to me that Akintade’s vehicle was an “up-armored” Humvee, which means its heavier, costlier, with “ballistic protection” and shields for the gunner. The platoon had also added extra protection on top of the heavy armor. This might explain why the three other people in the Humvee with Akintade weren’t injured. The problems with the unarmored Humvees are of course well-known, and a Newsweek article in May suggested a fourth of the soldiers killed in Iraq through last spring might have been saved by better armor.
Today, there was more bad news for New York soldiers. Christian Engeldrum, a firefighter in the Army National Guard, was apparently killed when his armored Humvee rolled over a bomb, and was ripped in two (scroll down).
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 30, 2004