- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 12, 2009

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, DEL. (AP) - The remains of five soldiers killed in Iraq this week in the deadliest attack against U.S. troops in more than a year arrived at Dover Air Force base Sunday as family members watched.

Five flag-draped transfer cases were unloaded from a jet on a crisp, clear evening in a somber half-hour ceremony broken only by the cries of children, the hum of the aircraft and the cameras of the media that were allowed to attend.

The soldiers were killed Friday when a suicide bomber driving a truck detonated a ton of explosives near a police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul. The U.S. military said Iraqi police were the bomber’s target and that the Americans were caught up as bystanders.

Two Iraqi policemen also were killed in the midmorning blast near the Iraqi National Police headquarters. At least 62 people, including one American soldier and 27 civilians, were wounded, officials said.

Sunday’s ceremony marks the fourth time the media has been allowed to cover the arrival of overseas casualties since the Pentagon adopted a new policy that requires getting family permission. It ended an 18-year ban on press coverage of the arrival ceremony.

A six-member transfer team from the Army’s Old Guard in Washington and an eight-member Air Force team moved the cases off the lift in an efficient, tightly choreographed process.

The Army identified the soldiers as Staff Sgt. Gary L. Woods Jr., 24, of Lebanon Junction, Ky.; Staff Sgt. Bryan E. Hall, 25, of Elk Grove, Calif.; Sgt. Edward W. Forrest Jr., 25, of St. Louis; Cpl. Jason G. Pautsch, 20, of Davenport, Iowa; and Private Second Class Bryce E. Gautier, 22, of Cypress, Calif.

The five were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

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