Lamarol J Tucker
May 16, 2011
Killed when insurgents attacked their unit using an improvised explosive device in Zabul province, Afghanistan.
|From The Gainsville Sun gainsville.com
Gainesville soldier dies in Afghanistan
Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 7:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 10:38 p.m.
A Gainesville serviceman and three other soldiers were killed Monday — only weeks after deploying to Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Wednesday.
Pvt. Lamarol J. Tucker, 26, a 2003 graduate of Santa Fe High School in Alachua, and three other members of the U.S. Army were killed Monday afternoon when insurgents attacked their unit using an improvised explosive device in the city of Spin Ghbarga, in Afghanistan's Zabul Province, officials said.
Tucker and the others were on a mounted patrol when they were fatally wounded.
According to previously published reports, Tucker is the son of Lenard Jerome Tucker and the late Janice Elaine Walker, and is the brother of Keith Tucker.
Tucker entered the Army in January 2009 and deployed in April to Afghanistan from Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Army stated in a release.
Tucker was assigned to the 73rd Engineer Company, Brigade Troops Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division out of Fort Wainwright.
Tucker's 4,000-soldier brigade began deploying to Afghanistan in mid-April, officials said, for a one-year tour.
A memorial ceremony will be held at Fort Wainwright, officials said.
|From The Gainsville Sun gainsville.com 05/26/11:
Hundreds turn out for procession honoring fallen soldier
By Cindy Swirko
Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 12:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 11:50 p.m.
The procession bringing home the body of slain Army Pvt. Lamarol Tucker on Thursday passed through a gauntlet of military service members and weaved through north Gainesville for a half-hour, passing hundreds of saluting bystanders, before arriving at Chestnut Funeral Home.
Tucker was killed on May 16 in the line of duty while serving in Afghanistan.
His body arrived about 10:35 a.m. on a chartered jet at University Air Center at Gainesville Regional Airport. After family spent a few moments by the casket, it began its journey with a full escort of police on motorcycles. At the end were more than 100 motorcyclists, many of them veterans and many of them carrying flags.
Intersections along the route — Waldo Road, North 39th Avenue, Northwest Sixth Street and Northwest Eighth Avenue — were crowded with people paying their respects. People in cars that were stopped along the route also got out to honor Tucker.
The funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Passage Family Church at 2020 NE 15th St.
Tucker’s brother, Florida State University student Keith Tucker, said Lamarol Tucker always wanted to do something positive and added that he encouraged his brother to join the military.
Keith Tucker said the military gave his brother more structure and said he was proud of the decisions his brother made.
“I loved him. Times were hard, but we made it through together on many occasions. He’s a hero in my book. I love him very much, and I miss him,” Keith Tucker said. “He enjoyed music and sports. He was very quiet — didn’t talk a whole lot. We’d cut up ... a lot.”
Lamarol Tucker attended Santa Fe High School in Alachua and Loften High in Gainesville. He is the son of Lenard Jerome Tucker and the late Janice Elaine Walker.
Keith Tucker said his father now lives in Ocala and that few family members remain in Alachua County.
Among those standing along Sixth Street were employees of Gainesville Animal Hospital, who made a sign that read, “Gainesville Animal Hospital Supports U.S. Troops.”
Veterinary technician Megan Bates said the clinic wanted to show Pvt. Tucker’s family and other military members that their service is appreciated.
“It’s very touching. I’ve seen the procession for an officer that passed away before, and it definitely hits home when you know that your friends are over there fighting and that it could have been any one of them,” Bates said.
Riding in the motorcade was Lamarol Tucker’s cousin, Mary Howard, who also described her cousin as a quiet person who is going to be missed.
“We are so proud that he gave himself to his country,” Howard said. “It was so powerful to see him honored like this.”
Four soldiers including Tucker were on patrol when they were fatally wounded by insurgents who had attacked their unit using an improvised explosive device in the city of Spin Ghbarga in Afghanistan’s Zabul Province, officials said.
Tucker had joined the Army in January 2009 and deployed in April to Afghanistan from Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Army stated. He was assigned to the 73rd Engineer Company, Brigade Troops Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division out of Fort Wainwright.
Tucker’s 4,000-soldier brigade began deploying to Afghanistan in mid-April, officials said, for a one-year tour.
|4 soldiers killed in Afghanistan IED blast
By Patrick Quinn
The Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan — Four American soldiers serving with NATO forces in Afghanistan died May 16 in an explosion in the country’s south, NATO and a defense department official said, bringing home the human cost of the U.S.-led push into Taliban strongholds.
The official said they were hit by an improvised explosive device. He spoke on condition of anonymity because relatives of those killed were still being notified. The latest deaths make a total of 16 NATO service members killed so far this month, and 167 so far this year.
The latest casualties came as the second-ranking U.S. general in Afghanistan said it was too early to tell if the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan will have an impact on the Afghan war effort.
Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, who is in charge of NATO’s joint command, said that al-Qaida as a movement was not based on bin Laden’s leadership alone and that the military has been waiting to see how his May 2 death will affect the strength of the terror group and its influence in Afghanistan.
Rodriguez said bin Laden’s killing by U.S. Navy SEALs in the garrison city of Abbottabad had “no effects that we can see at this point. It’s too early to see that, but we are continuing to watch that over time.”
According to Rodriguez, al-Qaida has fewer than 100 operatives in Afghanistan, mostly providing support and resources to insurgents.
“The al-Qaida movement is not based on just one individual, and we will have to see what that impact is ... and how much that will be on the strength of al-Qaida and associated movements. But that is yet to be seen,” Rodriguez said.
There has been hope that the killing of bin Laden will weaken the terror group’s connections with the Taliban, especially with leaders such as Mullah Mohammed Omar who had personal ties to the dead al-Qaida leader. Pakistan may also feel pressured to help bring some Afghan Taliban leaders to the negotiating table. The Taliban’s leadership is thought to be hiding in Pakistan.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has often called on Pakistan for help with the Taliban, has been pushing for reconciliation with the insurgents. The United States has also been promoting what it has called a diplomatic surge to help find a nonmilitary solution to the fighting.
Rodriguez predicted that violence would increase further this summer as the Taliban try to retake territory they lost in southern Kandahar and southwestern Helmand provinces in the past year.
“We have said for several months that we will see a rise in violence this spring and summer. And as the Afghan government keeps gaining support from the people, the insurgents will continue to launch sensational attacks against soft targets,” Rodriguez said.
He added that Afghan and coalition forces would try to expand security around Kandahar and Helmand and link the two regions.
“These were the two centers of the Taliban movement and the combined team holds them and intends to retain them. We know that the Taliban want them back and we expect, and we are seeing him, continue to attack. But everyday we hold them is one day more to build and harden the environment,” said Australian Maj. Gen. Michael Krause, the coalition’s deputy chief of staff for plans.
The Taliban recently launched a long-promised spring offensive and have carried out attacks in the southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan. The Taliban and other insurgent groups retain bases in safe havens across the border in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas.
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