American military deaths in Iraq reach 3000

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Specialist Dustin R. Donica

The Pentagon announced the death of US Army Spc. Dustin R. Donica on the last day of the year, bringing the number of US troop fatalities in Iraq since the onset of war in 2003 to 3000.

Donica, 22, was killed in small arms fire Thursday while serving in Baghdad.

In a statement from Donica's family, Dustin's father David Donica said, "Dustin had a tremendous sense of duty, both to his family, and his country. He will be missed by his family, and all those that knew him."

While 3000 is a small number compared to most other US military conflicts, this milestone highlights the growing sectarian violence in Iraq and the state of coalition soldiers caught in the middle of it. The War in Iraq faces strong domestic opposition due to military fatalities, a financial cost of more than $350 billion, widespread international opposition, and criticisms of the Bush administration's handling of the war.

“The most painful aspect of the presidency is the fact that I know my decisions have caused young men and women to lose their lives,” said Bush in his final press conference of the year.

Donica, from Spring, Texas, was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat team, 25th Infantry Division in Fort Richardson, Alaska. Among his likes were soccer, rock and vocal trance music, and ham-and-pineapple pizza with Dr. Pepper.