News Release

With More Than 1,000 Dead U.S. Soldiers in Iraq: Hearing Their Families

Nancy Lessin
Charlie Richardson
Interviews are available with the following relatives of U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq. They can be contacted through Nancy Lessin and Charlie Richardson, co-founders of Military Families Speak Out.

* Celeste Zappala lives in Philadelphia, Pa. Her son Pennsylvania National Guardsman Sgt. Sherwood Baker was killed in Baghdad on April 26, 2004, in an explosion while providing security detail for people looking for weapons of mass destruction.

* Jane Bright is a resident of West Hills, Calif. Her son Evan Ashcraft died in Iraq. She said today: “My son was killed in an ambush near Mosul two days after Saddam Hussein’s sons were killed in Mosul — and three weeks after George Bush challenged the Iraqi resistance with ‘Bring ’em on.'”

* Sue Niederer lives in Pennington, N.J. Her son Army 1st Lt. Seth Dvorin was killed in Iraq on February 3, 2004. Lt. Dvorin deployed to Iraq five days after he was married.

* Eric Blickenstaff lives in Portland, Ore. His brother Spc. Joseph Michael Blickenstaff died December 8, 2003, in Iraq. His stepbrother is a Marine and is currently on his second tour in Iraq.

* Brooke M. Campbell is from Atlanta, Ga. Her brother U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan M. Campbell was killed in Iraq on April 6, 2004. He was scheduled to come home from his one-year tour of duty in Baghdad on April 25, 2004.

* Fernando Suarez del Solar lives in California. His son Jesus was a Marine who died in Iraq in March 2003. Since then, he has traveled to Iraq on a fact-finding delegation with other military families and veterans and has spoken out for peace at a number of rallies, including the August 29 march in New York during the Republican National Convention.

Nancy Lessin and Charlie Richardson are co-founders of Military Families Speak Out (www.mfso.org, mfso@mfso.org). They said today: “It is our loved ones who are, or have been, or will be on the battlefront. It is our loved ones who are risking injury and death. It is our loved ones who are returning scarred from their experiences. It is our loved ones who will have to live with the injuries and deaths among innocent Iraqi civilians.”

The group Military Families Speak Out has released a statement: “The two primary justifications used by the Bush administration to take this nation into war — weapons of mass destruction and a link between Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein — have proven to be false. Each day, week and month that this reckless military misadventure continues, the death toll goes higher….

“We remember all the U.S. service men and women who have died as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq; the many thousands of Iraqi men, women and children who have died as a result of this war in Iraq; and the fact that these deaths have occurred in a war that is unjust and unjustifiable.

“Military Families Speak Out — an organization of well over 1,600 families with loved ones in the military, including those who have been killed in Iraq, who are currently serving in Iraq, or who are about to deploy to Iraq — calls on the Bush administration and on the United States Congress to BRING OUR TROOPS HOME NOW! Our loved ones signed up to protect and defend Country and Constitution — not to be put in harm’s way for oil markets and dreams of empire. As we honor the fallen, we call on the administration to stop betraying our troops, their families and this nation! Not one more death in a war based on lies.”

Military Families Speak Out