Tuesday, April 10, 2007

David N. Simmons dies after 'contact with enemy forces using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire'

KOKOMO, Ind. -- Less than a month after he arrived in Iraq, an Indiana soldier was killed Sunday when his unit encountered enemy forces in Baghdad, military officials and his family said Tuesday.

Army Pfc. David Neil Simmons, 20, of Kokomo, was one of two U.S. soldiers killed during the encounter, in which enemy forces used an improvised explosive device and small arms fire, the U.S. Department of Defense said. Further details about Simmons' death weren't immediately available.

Simmons' relatives had visited him at Fort Benning, Ga., on March 17 as he prepared for deployment, according to his father, David Simmons.

The father was grieving at his Kokomo home on Tuesday.

"What's the odds of, (among) 160,000 troops ... your only child (is) there one week and gets killed?" the elder Simmons said to 6News' Renee Jameson.

Inside the home's kitchen, the soldier's uncle, Jim Simmons, handled a series of phone calls for the father. During a lull, he looked at pictures of the soldier.

"How many kitchens are full of sorrow and sad parents and uncles?" Jim Simmons said.

David Neil Simmons and the other slain soldier, Staff Sgt. Harrison Brown, 31, of Alabama, were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division based in Fort Benning.

David Neil Simmons was a graduate of Kokomo's Northwestern High School. Relatives said his remains could be returned to Kokomo this weekend.

From RTV 6