Soldiers Killed Wrote Opinion Piece in Newspaper

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(September 13, 2007)-- The military confirmed Thursday that a 28-year-old Army sergeant from Texas who co-wrote a New York Times op-ed critical of the Pentagon’s assessment of the war was among seven troops killed in a vehicle accident, and the fallen soldier’s mother wants answers about the circumstances of the crash.

Seven soldiers contributed to the Times op-ed piece, and two of them died when a truck plunged off an elevated roadway Monday as 82nd Airborne Division troops returned from a raid.

Column co-authors Sgt. Omar Mora, 28, of Texas City and Staff Sgt. Yance Gray, 26, of Ismay, Mont. died in the crash, which also killed Pfc. Ari D. Brown-Weeks, 23, of Abingdon, Md.; Pfc. Steven Elrod, 20, of Hope Mills, N.C.; Sgt. Michael C. Hardegree, 21, of Villa Rica, Ga.; Sgt. Nicholas Patterson, 24, of Rochester, Ind., and Staff Sgt. Gregory Rivera-Santiago, 26, of St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Two Iraqi detainees also died in the crash.

The seven soldiers were assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.