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Washington Guardsman dies from Iraq injury

Post by Scott Fontaine on Feb. 26, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
February 26, 2010 3:17 pm

A Washington National Guard soldier from Tacoma who chose to stay in Iraq after his unit returned home died Wednesday in an American military hospital in Germany.

Sgt. William Spencer, 40, was injured in Iraq and evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. The injury was not combat related, according to a National Guard press release.

A Pentagon press release said Spencer died “while supporting combat operations at Combat Outpost Marez” in the northern city of Mosul.

Spencer deployed with the 81st Brigade Combat Team in August 2009 and chose to stay with the Mississippi National Guard unit that replaced it. He served with the Olympia-based 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment.

The brigade of 3,500 soldiers – about 2,400 of whom are from Washington – lost one soldier during its yearlong mobilization. Spc. Samuel D. Stone of Port Orchard was killed May 30, 2009, when his M1117 Armored Security Vehicle rolled during a convoy mission outside Tallil.

About 300 Washington National Guardsmen are serving throughout Iraq.

Spencer is the second Washington soldier to die in Iraq this year. Pfc. Adriana Alvarez, a 20-year-old military policeman, died Feb. 10.

Spencer had previously served in the Air Force before joining the National Guard. Memorial service details have not been made.

“I stand with all Washingtonians today as we mourn the loss of Sgt. William Spencer,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a release. “Sgt. Spencer was a proud member of the 81st – and chose to stay in Iraq with the Mississippi Army National Guard when his unit came home. He is a true hero who sacrificed his life to protect our freedoms, and provide a better life for those living in the Middle East.”

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