Thursday, August 16, 2007

Alicia A. Birchett dies 'of injuries suffered from a non-combat related accident'

A Bay State soldier was killed in Iraq last week, leaving behind three children, a husband and dozens of grieving relatives in Mashpee.

Staff Sgt. Alicia Birchett, 29, was injured in Baghdad, Iraq, on Aug. 8 while changing a tire alongside a road, her family said last night. She died from her injuries Aug. 9.

“I guess somebody got a flat,” said Birchett’s cousin, Beatrice Jackson, 33, of Mashpee. “She was the mechanic . . . What I was told is that she was crushed, but nobody said how she was crushed.”

The Army said the noncombat related accident is under investigation.

Birchett had three children, all boys between ages 2 and 7.

Birchett joined the Army in 1996 shortly after graduating high school. She was assigned to the 887th Engineer Company, 326th Engineer Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, where she worked as a mechanic.

Her family said it was a tough job she loved and it gave her a chance to travel.

“It was just her way to see the world, serve her country and make her family proud,” Jackson said.

Birchett married a soldier and started a life in Tennessee, her family said, where she and her husband bought a home about two years ago. Jackson said Birchett’s husband is no longer in the service and she spoke briefly with him last night.

“He’s upset,” she said. “He just lost his wife.”

From the Boston Herald

MASHPEE - A young mother of three who was a member of the Mahspee Wampanoag tribe, died last week in Iraq of injuries in a noncombat-related accident.

Staff Sgt. Alicia (Finklea) Birchett, 29, who graduated from Falmouth High School in 1995, died Aug. 9 in Baghdad from injuries sustained in a truck accident the day before, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The same release says the accident is under investigation.

Birchett, known to her friends and family as “Little Brown Bee,” was assigned to the 887th Engineer Co., 326th Engineer Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky. Her decorations include the Bronze Star.

Birchett enlisted in the Army in 1996 and was stationed at Fort Campbell for 12 years, according to an obituary prepared by her family. Her tours of duty included Germany, Korea and Iraq.

She was living with her family in Waynesboro, Tenn., before being deployed to Iraq.

Survivors include her husband, Joe Louis Birchett; three sons, Joe Louis Birchett III, Julian X. Birchett and Silas V. Birchett, all of Waynesboro, Tenn; her mother, Dorothea (Jackson) Finklea of Wareham; her stepfather, Elie Pilet of Mashpee; and her father, Alvin Finklea, of New York.

From the Cape Cod Times