(Feb. 7, 2007, initial post) -- LBReport.com is saddened to report the death of a Long Beach soldier serving in Iraq.
The Department of Defense has announced the death of Pfc David Toomalatai, 19, of Long Beach...one of three soldiers to die on January 27 in Taji, Iraq of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during convoy operations.
Pfc Toomalatai and his comrades were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood, Texas.
The soldiers who perished with Pfc Toomalatai were Cpl. Timothy A. Swanson, 21, of San Antonio, Texas and Spc.on B. St. John II, 25, of Neenah, Wisconsin.
CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has issued the following statement:
"Private First Class Toomalatai's brave sacrifice reminds all Californians to treasure the freedoms preserved by selfless soldiers like him. This brave soldier fought courageously so that others may enjoy the same liberties that Americans do everyday. Maria and I offer our condolences to David's family and friends as they mourn their loss."
In honor of Pfc. Toomalatai, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.
Fort Hood Media Relations Branch Chief Nancy Bourget tells LBReport.com that Pfc Toomalatai joined the service in December 2005 as a health care specialist. He arrived in Fort Hood in September 2006 and deployed to Iraq in October 2006.
His military awards included the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal.
Our condolences go out to his family and friends. Further details as we learn them.