of September 11 courage dies in Iraq attack
By MICHELE McPHEE in New York
A NEW York City firefighter remembered by his wife as the "ultimate
patriot" died near Baghdad when his army vehicle rolled over
a bomb, killing him and wounding another of the city's bravest.
Engeldrum, whose September 11 heroism was captured in a New York
Daily News photograph, is the first city employee to die in Iraq
since the war began.
Ground Zero burned, he was photographed steadying a ladder that
another firefighter had climbed to hang a torn U.S. flag from a
bent light pole.
Monday, the courageous father was part of a convoy of Army National
Guardsmen protecting a bridge from insurgents fleeing Fallujah when
his unit came under attack and his Humvee rolled over a bomb.
explosion ripped the armoured vehicle in two and hurtled the wounded
soldiers on to the street. Three soldiers were killed and 16 more
were seriously injured, including city firefighter Daniel Swift,
Mr Swift's face was bloodied by shrapnel. A fragment lodged in his
right eye, leaving him temporarily blinded, while his legs were
peppered with scalding metal.
his injuries, Mr Swift, the unit's medic, crawled over twisted debris
and knelt next to his FDNY brother, nicknamed Drum, as Iraqi insurgents
showered them with gunfire.
Swift desperately tried to save Mr Engeldrum, but the 39-year-old
sergeant did not survive the attack.
Swift was flown to Germany for treatment, where he was expected
to recover. He called his parents and fellow East Harlem firefighters
at Ladder 43 yesterday just to hear "a friendly voice",
his father said.
The bravery and dedication of soldiers like Mr Swift was what drew
Mr Engeldrum, a five-year FDNY veteran who served at Ladder 61 in
the Bronx, to Iraq, his widow said.
was the ultimate patriot, my husband," Sharon Engeldrum said
through tears from the family's Bronx home.
loved his country, he loved the Fire Department. He was very brave.
went to the Gulf War and made it through that. He went through 9/11
and made it.
died doing something he believed in."
an active member of the U.S. Army from 1986 to 1991, Mr Engeldrum
was decorated with medals for his actions in Operation Desert Storm
remained an Army reservist. Believing the war in Iraq was important,
he wanted to be with his fellow soldiers when they arrived in Baghdad
the night before Thanksgiving, Mr Engeldrum called his wife and
sent his love to her and sons Sean, 18, and Royce, 16.
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