On Christmas, a Soldier from Dallas Died in Iraq

Once before we mentioned this Web site -- on November 9, when 2006 Dallas Observer Music Awards-winner Kristy Kruger's brother, 40-year-old Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger of Garland, was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb. We mention it again today because this week, another Dallasite's name was added to the list of soldiers killed in Iraq: 29-year-old Spc. Aaron L. Preston, who was killed on Christmas in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Three other soldiers died with him. Preston was with the 9th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

Preston's death received a small mention in an Associated Press story that moved last night. But as the number of soldiers killed in Iraq since March 19, 2003, stretches toward 3,000 -- with 22,000 to 100,000 injured -- now might be a good time to go back to The Iraq Page. There, you will find not only the names of the dead and how they died, but stories and family photos behind the grim official statistics. As yet, Aaron Preston has no story linked to his name; surely, the Dallas Morning News will have one tomorrow that will make its way onto the site sooner than later. The paper, like most across the country, has done a good job of cataloging the dead with local ties. Today, as a matter of fact, there is a long piece in Dallas' Only Daily about Kristy Kruger's relationship with her brother and how she's going to have a benefit concert to raise money for Eric's young children -- including son Christian, who turned 4 two days before Eric was buried in November. (The show's January 12 at the former Standard & Pours coffee house, which is now Opening Bell Coffee.)

If you click on the name Spc. Nathaniel Aguirre of Carrollton, you will find a Dallas Morning News story about the 21-year-old who died in battle on October 22. A click on the name Spc. Ernest Dallas Jr., a 21-year-old from Denton killed in July 2005, will bring up a story from a Colorado newspaper. Spc. Adan Garcia's name takes you to a page full of pictures of the 20-year-old from Irving, who, the site says, died on May 27 in the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, of injuries sustained May 22 in Baghdad, when his convoy encountered small arms fire received while returning from an explosive ordinance mission.

The page is an extraordinary monument, searchable by age, home state, rank, unit, branch and the date a solder was killed. It links to every official Department of Defense release of every soldier killed while "supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom." Here is the one for Aaron Preston. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky