Cerro Gordo County Iowa
Part of the IaGenWeb Project


Cerro Gordo County Iowa
War on Terrorism, Persian Gulf Casualties

Since March 2003 21 Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers have died while assigned to Iowa or other state National Guard units.

    KNOWLES, SPC Joshua Lincoln, hometown Sheffield IA, aged 23
    U.S. Army, 1133rd Transportation Co. based in Mason City
Army SPC KNOWLES killed February 5th, 2004, when his truck was struck by a mortar round attack at a checkpoint, Baghdad International Airport.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The sad news of the death of an Iowa soldier is hitting one small community hard. The Iowa National Guard says Specialist Jashua KNOWLES of Sheffield was killed on Thursday. The convoy he was traveling in was hit by enemy fire. A member of the 1133rd transportation unit, Specialist KNOWLES was riding in a military cargo truck and was killed by mortar fire.

More than one-hundred people packed the pews at the Sacred Heart Parish in Rockwell, most coming to pray for the loss of their hometown hero.

Josh's fifth grade teacher, Ann WOLF, said, "Josh was a kid you'll never forget - high energy. He had such exuberance, and we know that's how he served our country as well."

Another member and close friend, Peter BIEBER, was also injured in the motar attack.

Friends say Josh's family is taking the news hard, but Father Craig STEIMEL says he's there to be a sounding board. He says, "To be able to help them, to be a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to. Just to extend prayer and thanks."

Church goers say their prayers for the family will continue, not to mention their prayers for peace. Funeral arrangements have not yet been scheduled for KNOWLES.

~ ~ ~ ~
Obituary - Army SPC Joshua L. Knowles

ROCKWELL, Iowa (AP) At a solemn Valentine's Day funeral, friends and family remembered an Iowa soldier killed in Iraq as a fun-loving man who found his calling in the military.

Spc. Joshua Lincoln KNOWLES, 23, "discovered his true love of God and country" during his time in the National Guard, which he joined as he graduated high school in 1999, the Rev. Dennis CAHILL said at the funeral.

KNOWLE'S service ended Feb. 5, when a mortar round struck the military truck he was driving at a checkpoint near the Baghdad International Airport. He was killed the tenth Iowan to die in Iraq and a passenger was injured.

On Saturday, more than 300 family members, friends, and acquaintances packed the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rockwell, 10 miles south of Mason City, to say farewell to KNOWLES, who lived his whole life in nearby Sheffield.

Noting Valentine's Day is usually associated with love, not loss, CAHILL asked those attending the funeral to share their love with KNOWLES' family.

His mother, father, and two younger sisters sobbed. Fellow soldiers cried. Friends hugged. And they all remembered their time with the sports buff who could also be a prankster.

They laughed at the time KNOWLES died his hair blue and red for an Independence Day parade. They remembered when he ate 64 ounces of ketchup in two days with potato chips; an off-color poem he once read out loud at work; the time he butchered "Friends in Low Places" singing karaoke.

KNOWLES played football and track in high school, and also liked golfing, smowboarding, and playing paintball, his family said.

"He was an exuberant young man who lived life to the fullest and pushed the limits with best intentions, said CAHILL, who eulogized Knowles at the request of his family.

Pointing to a picture of KNOWLES dancing in the funeral program, CAHILL said: "We believe he is dancing today in Heaven."

The church filled up more than 30 minutes before the service, and the overflow crowd packed into a nearby school cafeteria to listen to the mass.

Later, hundreds came to a cemetery south of Rockwell to see KNOWLES buried with full military honors. Soldiers gave him a gun salute and played taps as the crowd paid its respect with prayers.

He was posthumously awarded the the Bronze Star, for heroic achievement during war, and the Purple Heart, given to those wounded in war.

KNOWLES was studying criminal justice at a community college and working as a woodworker in Mason City before he was called up.

"He had wanted to make the National Guard his career and was very proud to be a soldier," his family said in a statement. KNOWLES was a member of the 1133rd Transportation Company in Mason City, which arrived in Kuwait in April 2003. The unit spent four months there before moving to Iraq, mostly transporting equipment and supplies.

KNOWLES would sign letters home "Peace from the Middle East." He sent his family a shirt that said "U.S. Soldiers Never Die They Just Take Cover Until the Next Mission."

American flags fluttered in the wind on just about every corner of this small town. At the Farmers Co-op in downtown, a sign read: "God Bless Josh KNOWLES and the 1133rd."

Funeral set Saturday for soldier killed in Iraq

SHEFFIELD, Iowa Funeral services for a Sheffield soldier killed in Iraq were scheduled for Feb. 14 [2004] at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rockwell, Iowa.

Spc. Josh KNOWLES, 23, a member of the 1133rd Transportation Company, died Feb. 5 [2004] in a mortar attack near Baghdad International Airport.

Burial will be in the Sacred Heart Cemetery at Rockwell.

Staff Sgt. Daniel CAHALAN, also of the 1133rd Transportation Co., left Mason City Tuesday for Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to escort KNOWLES' body back to North Iowa.

The military cargo truck that KNOWLES and his driving partner, Sgt. Peter BIEBER, 32, of Nora Springs, were in took a direct hit to its cab while at a check point at 2:15 p.m. Thursday, according to the Iowa Army National Guard.

Associated Press

    COLBY, SPC Dustin Scot, hometown Clear Lake IA, aged 20
    U.S. Army, 1133rd Trans. Co. based in Mason City
SPC COLBY died August 27th, 2004, in a semi-tractor rollover near Camp Dodge.

WCF Courier
Waterloo, Iowa
Sunday, August 29, 2004

Three Iowa Soldiers Dead After Two Rollover Crashes

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - In two accidents, three Iowa soldiers have been killed in the past two days when military trucks they were riding in rolled over.

Two soldiers died Friday morning in Johnston when their Iowa Army National Guard tractor-trailer went off the road and rolled in a ditch after departing from the Camp Dodge military base, according to the Johnston Police Department.

The Iowa National Guard on Saturday identified the men as Bruce J. POLLEMA, 30, of Hull, and Dustin S. COLBY, 20, of the Mason City area. They were both assigned to the National Guard's 2168th Transportation Company based in Sheldon.

Lt. Col. Greg HAPGOOD, spokesman for the Guard, said the men were in a convoy leaving Camp Dodge en route to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for training, and that the likely next stop after that was the Persian Gulf.

COLBY joined the Guard "because he wanted to make a difference in the world, he wanted to do good," a family spokesperson told the Globe Gazette newspaper. POLLEMA'S family issued a statement that read, "Our hearts, minds, spirits and prayers are with the rest of the troops and we wish them God speed. We will be there for them when they come back."

On Thursday, Brandon PATTERSON, a 1994 Urbandale High School graduate and a paratrooper with the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division, was killed when a military truck in which he was being transported rolled at Fort Bragg, N.C., during a training exercise, a base spokesman said.

PATTERSON had survived a tour of Army combat duty in Iraq, but died when he was pinned by the truck. He was being transported in a light-medium tactical vehicle assigned to the division's 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, officials said.

A total of 14 Iowa military servicemen have died since July 2003 while serving in Iraq, including one who died in a vehicle accident.

In Johnston, POLLEMA and COLBY were crushed inside the truck cab and were pronounced dead at the scene, said Johnston Police Sgt. Lynn ASWEGAN. The cause of the crash wasn't clear because it happened in daylight on dry pavement and on a straight stretch of road, he said.

The truck tractor was pulling a flatbed trailer with a second empty flatbed trailer on top. "At this time, there is no evidence of a collision," said Police Sgt. Craig PORTER, who was on the scene investigating the crash.

HAPGOOD said that heavy vehicle accidents are common in the military, and that guard members receive extensive training on how to best prevent them.

The accident occurred about one block west of the new main gate at Camp Dodge. The vehicle was westbound when it left the two-lane road and entered the ditch on the north side, rolling over and trapping both occupants inside the tractor cab, ASWEGAN said.

It took emergency responders between 90 minutes and two hours to extract the victims from the crushed tractor cab, ASWEGAN said. The Iowa National Guard provided heavy equipment to permit medical workers to cut their way into the cab.

"It was a difficult process. Everyone was working as hard as they possibly could, but there were visual assumptions at that time that the subjects inside were deceased," ASWEGAN said.

The investigation is being conducted by Johnston police and the Iowa Department of Transportation's Motor Carrier Enforcement Unit. The military convoy stopped for a short time after the accident, but then continued prior to the arrival of police officers, ASWEGAN said.

In Urbandale, where PATTERSON had been a high school wrestler, his death was being mourned Friday.

"It just feels like a piece of your heart is gone," said Wes BOEHM, Urbandale High School's wrestling coach and a friend of PATTERSON and his family. He said he had been told the accident at Fort Bragg happened during a storm.

BOEHM said PATTERSON had been in Iraq for a year and a half and returned to the United States for more training.

Patterson was a freshman when BOEHM was hired as Urbandale's wrestling coach for the 1990-91 season. He became BOEHM'S first 100-match winner when he won a Class 3-A district championship at 140 pounds - and qualified for the state wrestling tournament - in 1994.

"He was a leader," BOEHM said. "He was my first 100-match winner. This is tough."

~ ~ ~ ~
Obituary - SPC Dustin Scot Colby

SPC. Dustin Scot COLBY, 20, of 513 12th Ave. N. Clear Lake, Iowa died Friday August 27, 2004 in a semi-tractor rollover accident near Camp Dodge.

Funeral service will be Wednesday 3:00p.m. Sept. 1, 2004 at the Iowa National Guard Armory, 1160 19th St. S.W., Mason City, Iowa with Chaplain Luder officiating. Visitation will be Tuesday from 3:00-8:00 p.m. at the Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. 4th St., Clear Lake, Iowa and then one hour before the service on Wednesday at the Armory. Interment will be in the Kensett Cemetery with military honors by the Iowa National Guard. Family suggests memorials to SPC. Dustin Scot COLBY memorial fund.

Dustin was born Sept. 2, 1983, in Mason City, Iowa, the son of Jerry COLBY and Misti SLOCUM. He attended school in Mason City, Northwood and then moved to Albuquerque. New Mexico, where he graduated from Sandia High School in 2002. Dustin moved back to Clear Lake after high school and enlisted in the Iowa Army National Guard. He was mobilizing to Ft. Sill, Ok. to serve in the Middle East, Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Dustin was well known for his favorite phrase "Get Er Done." He enjoyed riding motorcycles, jet skiing, water skiing, hunting, fishing, rock climbing, downhill skiing and spending time with his family and friends. He was a member of Mason City Baptist Church and Iowa Army National Guard.

Dustin will be sadly missed by his father Jerry COLBY, Northwood, Iowa; mother Misti THOE and her husband Lance, Clear Lake, Iowa; two brothers Steven and Seth; four sisters Miquela, Danielle, Megan and Nicole; step-mother Connie COLBY, Albuquerque, New Mexico; maternal grandparents Frank and Mary Lou WOOD, Mason City, Iowa; Gary and Kathy SLOCUM, Waterloo, Iowa; Stan GRELL, Clear Lake, Iowa; Bev and Don GIRARDOT Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Kim and Linda DOCKWELL, Ventura, Iowa; Larry THOE, Fairmont, Minnesota; maternal great-grandfather Harold KOTHENBEUTEL, Sheffield, Iowa; paternal grandparents Dave and Darlene COLBY, Manly, Iowa; step-grandmother Cheri HALLMAN, Northwood, Iowa; a special friend Heather SCHULZE, Clear Lake, Iowa, Justin OUVERTON, Albuquerque, NM and several aunts, uncles, cousins and a host of friends.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents.

~ Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. 4th St., Clear Lake, Iowa 50428 641-357-2193. wwwcolonialchapels.com

Associated Press
WCF Courier "Three Iowa Soldiers Dead After Two Rollover Crashes" 29 Aug 2004.

Compilation & Submission by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2011

  • Return to Cerro Gordo Military Index Page

  • Return to Cerro Gordo Home Page


    © Copyright 1996-
    Cerro Gordo Co. IAGenWeb Project
    All rights Reserved.