Aaron Bert worked in the finance department of the City of Seattle until his Washington Army National Guard unit was activated for service in Iraq in 2004. In this email, he relates the death of SGT Damien Ficek on December 30, 2004. SGT Ficek grew up in Oregon and after active service in the U.S. Army, he went to work for Washington State University in Pullman and joined the National Guard.
Dear Friends and Family:
It is almost the start of a new year and I am still in a state of denial. During a combat mission yesterday, one of my soldiers, SGT Damien Ficek, 26, was killed. I was right there beside him and held his head in my hands while we waited for the medical evacuation. He had slipped into shock, so I know he was not aware of the pain. He died in route to the hospital. My medics were on the scene immediately, but even with all of our technology and training, there was not much we could do on the side of a shitty street in the heart of Baghdad. The battle we were in yesterday was intense and we did everything right -- it was just a lucky shot that took the life of such a wonderful man and soldier. You will hear his name in the news, but I knew him as flesh and blood -- another life taken in a conflict that has no clear end.
My love to you....
CPT Aaron L. Bert
FOB Highlander, Baghdad