Two Soldiers Who Wrote NYT Op-Ed Die in Iraq

Last month, seven 82nd Airborne soldiers in Iraq wrote a harsh and powerful assessment of the war. The historic piece ran as an op-ed in The New York Times, stating in part:

To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched.

Today, it was announced that two of those soldiers have died in a vehicle accident in Baghdad.

I was gutted when I heard the news this morning. Like so many other Iraq veterans, I read the paper every day and go directly to names of the dead -- fearfully looking for names I know. Our staff reviews and posts the names of those killed in action every day on the "Honor the Fallen" section of IAVA's homepage, and not one of them is easy. But this news was especially tough for me to swallow. I really looked forward to one day meeting these brave, articulate and thoughtful soldier-statesmen -- or seeing them run for office.

Please keep these soldiers and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Like every troop that dies in Iraq, these men are more than just numbers. They each have a name, a story and a family that must be remembered. Amidst all the politics and partisanship that dominate our televisions and radios, we must always keep in mind that there are real people behind the policy.

Sgt. Omar Mora, 28, of Texas City, TX, the son of Olga and Robert Capetillo, and the sister of Erica Capetillo, was on his second tour of duty and had just become a U.S. citizen. He is survived by a wife and 5-year-old daughter.

Staff Sgt. Yance T. Gray, 26, of Ismay, MT, the son of Richard and Karen Gray, leaves behind a wife and baby daughter.

Please consider making a donation in their memory to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. As soldiers and as citizens, these young men are heroes. Their devotion to our country is an inspiration, and their deaths represent an unspeakable loss.