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Fort Riley soldier dies in Iraq

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Here are Kansas-related military headlines today:Fort Riley[(U.S. Dept. of Defense) DOD identifies Army casualty:][1] The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Capt. Donnie R. Belser Jr., 28, of Anniston, Ala., died Feb. 10 in Baqubah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with the enemy using small arms fire during combat operations. He was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division and attached to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team with the 1st Cavalry Division. Belser was a member of the 524th Transition Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas. Kansas National Guard[(The Wichita Eagle) Buildup delays Kansas brothers' return home:][2] Tyler and Sean Wing believe in the war in Iraq, their father says. They serve in the Kansas National Guard's 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery, based in Pratt. Both are specialists. Tyler is 22, and Sean is 20. They have been in Iraq since April 2006 and were supposed to return to Kansas next month. Now they'll be in Iraq at least four months longer, says their father, Master Sgt. Les Wing of Kingman. Their extension is part of President Bush's plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq. Last month, he called for a buildup of 21,500 troops. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius wrote recently to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to request hardship pay for the additional months of duty for Kansas National Guard members. They are state employees when they are in Kansas, and federal employees when they are sent overseas. "Because their nation is calling upon them, they will continue to serve and serve with honor," Sebelius said in a news release. "But we must make sure this additional service is properly respected."[(The Wichita Eagle) Guard security bolstered:][3] The Kansas National Guard has traditionally used military police to protect its property, but its ability to provide security has been hampered by the deployment of its troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. On Monday, the House voted 123-0 to send the Senate a bill designed to solve the problem. The measure would permit the adjutant general to appoint security officers to protect Guard property, giving them the power of arrest throughout the state. The officers would have to complete law enforcement training. [(Vero Beach Press) Bowling event to roll out help for soldiers wounded in Iraq:][4] It took several months, but Tracy Price was starting to adjust to her husband Rodney's deployment to Iraq. Until Rodney's parents arrived at the Prices' house in the middle of the night last October, with the news he'd been badly wounded by mortar in Mosul. "I was just getting used to the fact that we're going to have to do this, and it's going to be OK," said Tracy Price, of Gardner, Kan. "Then within the week, it happened. It was surreal." On Feb. 18, St. Lucie Lanes in Port St. Lucie and Jupiter Lanes in Jupiter will hold a bowling fundraiser to help the Prices, and their three children Taylor Lintz, 17, Carley Lintz, 14 and Connor Price, 10, as well as two other families, pay for airfare to Disney World. All three families will stay at the condo provided by Nebraska-based nonprofit Wounded Warriors, which owns two condos for free use by wounded soldiers and their families. The organization also provides tickets to the park. Spc. Rodney Price, 43, who re-enlisted in the Kansas National Guard after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, is recovering from two major shrapnel wounds to his legs as well as abdominal surgery to take out shrapnel and has a piece of 2-centimeter piece of shrapnel in his hear [1]: www.defenselink.mil/Releases/Release.aspx?ReleaseID=10508 [2]: www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/local/16679809.htm [3]: www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/state/16683842.htm [4]: www.tcpalm.com/tcp/local_news/article/0,2545,TCP_16736_5341082,00.html

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