Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Forrest D. Cauthorn killed by small arms fire

A 22-year-old soldier with strong Richmond-area ties is one of the latest U.S. casualties of the fighting in Iraq.

Sgt. Forrest Dane Cauthorn was killed in action Thursday in Hawijah, Iraq, after suffering wounds during combat operations, according to a Department of Defense news release.

His unit came under fire by enemy forces using small arms and grenades, the release said.

Sgt. Cauthorn was a 2003 graduate of Manchester High School in Chesterfield County. His father, Forrest W. "Billy" Cauthorn, lives in Charles City County.

Sgt. Cauthorn was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

He was the 16th member of his battalion killed since it left for Iraq last summer, according to the Schofield Barracks Public Affairs Office.

In a statement released by the Fort Lee Public Affairs Office, Sgt. Cauthorn's father said: "Dane was raised to be the best kid anyone could ask for. He always took care of himself and those around him. He did what he thought was right when he joined the Army, and I stood behind his decision."

Before serving in Iraq, Sgt. Cauthorn served for about a year in Afghanistan in 2004-05 and was recently promoted to sergeant.

At Christmastime 2004, while serving in Afghanistan, Sgt. Cauthorn was quoted in a Washington Post story as saying he had received letters from schoolchildren who had adopted him from the Web site AnySoldier.com

He indicated that a soldier's life in Afghanistan at the time was marked chiefly by boredom.

The Washington Post story noted that he had gotten married the week before he left for Afghanistan.

His wife was listed along with Sgt. Cauthorn as a survivor in an obituary of his grandfather in January 2005 but was not listed when his grandmother died this past December.

Funeral arrangements for Sgt. Cauthorn were still being worked out yesterday.

"Dane lived and loved life to the fullest," Sgt. Cauthorn's father said in the statement. "He was loved by his father and countless friends very much."

From the Dispatch