A Friend of Unfair Park who introduced us years ago to 2006 Dallas Observer Music Awards-winner Kristy Kruger sends sad news. Kruger, who took the trophy for Best Female Singer, posted on her MySpace page last week a blog entry in which she writes that her brother Eric was killed last week in Iraq by a roadside bomb. The Army on Monday released the official story: Forty-year-old Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger, who was from Garland, was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colorado, and he and two other soldiers --Lt. Col. Paul J. Finken, 40; and Staff Sgt. Joseph A. Gage, 28--were riding in a Humvee in eastern Baghdad when the bomb went off last week.
According to this page, "Kruger is the highest ranking soldier from Fort Carson to have died in Iraq; the next highest was a major, a base spokesperson said. He is the 174th soldier from Fort Carson to be killed in Iraq, spokeswoman Dee McNutt said." The site, which contains biographical info about most of the soliders killed in Iraq, also says that Eric had two degrees from Southern Methodist University, had been in the Army since 1989, served in Bahrain and Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star. He had only been in Iraq since October and was killed not long after arriving there.
In July, Eric was interviewed for a story about "stressed-out soldiers" that aired on CBS Evening News:
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Lt. Col. Eric Kruger, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Carson, says he's concerned that soldiers aren't seeking help due to fears of fearing ridicule or reprisal.
"It's a tremendous concern," he says. "You don't want a soldier not to seek help for anything. They're our No. 1 asset. Leaders have to engage that every day — and in my experience here, we do."
About her brother's death, Kristy, who has recently moved to Los Angeles, had this to say on her MySpace page:
My brother Eric - Killed in Iraq - Nov. 2, 2006 Current mood: mourning/suicidal
It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the news of my brother's recent passing. He was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb Nov. 2nd. I am here in NYC and intend to play on. I need to play music now more than ever, and I ask that as many of you as possible, please come down and allow me to have a little joy in my life during this very rough time by sharing music with you. My brother loved music and these shows are for him. Please share them with all you know in his memory...And also, I am hurting quite badly, any emails, words of encouragement from my friends near and far are so helpful to me right now.
Let there be peace on earth.
To which we would only add an amen and offer our condolences. --Robert Wilonsky