As the U.S. gears down in Iraq to shift resources to Afghanistan, on Good Friday, 20 year-old Corporal Jason Pautsch, a squadron leader from Davenport, four other US soldiers, and two iraqi Security Force members were killed by a suicide bomber in Mosul. The bomber drove a grain truck with 2,000 pounds of hidden explosives into a security wall of the national police complex there killing the soldiers and injuring at least one US soldier, 27 Iraqis and 35 others.
Cpl. Pautsch had been in Iraq since last September. He was scheduled to come home next month for a few weeks then finish his tour of duty in October. Members of his family traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be there when his body arrived on Saturday.
The Quad-City Times reports that his father David said “Jason just called Thursday at two o’clock, and we talked an hour. Twelve hours later he’s dead.” Pautsch, who is the president and CEO of L.W. Ramsey Advertising Agency and the founder and executive director of Thy Kingdom Come Ministries, said that he never let himself think that his son could be killed in action. “Maybe I was in denial. I thought for sure he’d come back in flying colors, live a long life and die of old age.”
The Associated Press reported that U.S. troops must leave the city by June 30 under an agreement with the Iraqis. About 2,000 U.S. troops and 20,000 Iraqi army and police officers are stationed inside Mosul.
The total casualties in Iraq for American troops and Iraqi civilians are 4271 and between 91,385 – 99,774 respectively. Pautsch is the second Davenport area soldier to die, Katie Soenksen was killed in 2007.