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Army Spc. David M. Fisher

Died December 1, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Green Island, N.Y.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 101st Cavalry Regiment, New York Army National Guard, Newburgh, N.Y.; killed Dec. 1 while his unit was on patrol in Baghdad and the Humvee in which he was riding rolled over.

New York Guardsman killed in Iraq

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York National Guardsman who had been in Iraq about a month was killed, his mother’s co-workers said.

News of the death of 21-year-old Spc. David M. Fisher shook the Albany Times-Union Wednesday, where his mother worked in the circulation department for about 10 years.

The military has not confirmed the death, and details surrounding it were sketchy.

Fisher’s mother, Victoria DiMura, received the news surrounded by her colleagues, who had been gathering items for another package to send him.

“She saw her ex-husband, John Fisher, coming toward her, and he was crying and holding his closed fists to his eyes, and she just knew,” said advertising employee Lynette Berben.

David Fisher, who served in the 42nd Infantry Division, was a 2001 graduate of Watervliet High School.

In a recent company newsletter, DiMura wrote: “My son, David, and every soldier that represents our country could not possibly receive enough acknowledgment for what they are doing. I want him to return home safely and be able to look back on this experience and know in his heart how he truly made a difference.”

Joe Patane, an uncle, said a Nov. 22 letter from Fisher arrived Wednesday.

“He was very upbeat. He said, ‘Don’t worry about me, I’m in a safe place,” Patane said.

Fisher is also survived by a brother and sister.

Mourners pack church for Guardsman’s funeral

WATERVLIET, N.Y. — Bagpipers played a dirge as more than 500 mourners gathered Thursday for the funeral of a 21-year-old National Guardsman killed last week in Iraq.

St. Brigid’s Church in David Fisher’s hometown of Watervliet, a working-class city on the Hudson River, overflowed with family, friends and fellow Guardsmen. He was remembered as a caring big brother, athlete, soldier, and someone who liked to joke and made people laugh.

“David had a zest for life,” Donna Patane said, her voice at times breaking in a eulogy for her cousin. “He always had a smile on his face and a warm hug to greet you.”

He also is the 11th member of the New York Army National Guard to die in Iraq.

A military detail and police escort accompanied Fisher’s body to the high-ceilinged church and later to St. Agnes Cemetery in neighboring Menands. Most mourners followed in a slow procession of almost 100 vehicles, accompanied to the Watervliet city line by the bagpipers and drummer.

After graveside prayers, a 21-gun salute and a flyover by three helicopters, the flag draping Fisher’s coffin was folded and presented to his mother. Cut carnations that had been handed out were laid, one at a time, on the coffin, and mourners trickled away only slowly under an overcast sky.

Fisher died Dec. 1 when the Humvee in which he was riding overturned in Baghdad, the Defense Department said. He was a member of the 42nd Infantry “Rainbow” Division, based in nearby Troy, and was serving in Iraq with Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 101st Cavalry Regiment.

Nine members of the New York Army National Guard have been killed by enemy fire in Iraq and two have died in accidents, Lt. Col. Paul Fanning said.

“There are some people who disagree whether our troops should be in Iraq,” Bishop Howard Hubbard said at the funeral. “There is absolutely no one who disagrees our troops should be supported.”

Prayers were said for U.S. soldiers at home and abroad, including Fisher’s best friend who also is deployed to Iraq, and for peace in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fisher enlisted in the Guard after graduating from Watervliet High School and was in Iraq about a month. He was posthumously promoted to sergeant.

“He may have been a man in terms of years though he was still a kid at heart,” the Rev. John Tallman said. “He showed us how to live life in an honorable way.”

Fisher enlisted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, knowing what kind of responsibility that was, Tallman said. “He knew we’d be going to war.”

His father is a police officer and his mother works in the circulation department of the Albany Times Union. About 50 police officers, and as many soldiers, attended the funeral.

— Associated Press

Army IDs cause of soldier’s death in Iraq

ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York National Guardsman killed in Iraq in December died when the driver of the Humvee he was riding in lost control of the vehicle during a high-speed defensive maneuver, Army officials said.

The move, designed to avoid explosive devices hung by insurgents on fishing line from overpasses, has now been revised after the death of Sgt. David Fisher of Watervliet.

Army officials released the findings surrounding Fisher’s death in a report given to the Guardsman’s family during a meeting at suburban Albany hotel Wednesday, according to the Times Union of Albany.

Fisher’s family had been pressing the Pentagon for details of the crash, the newspaper said.

“We waited six months for this and there is no closure,” said Fisher’s mother, Victoria DiMura. “They couldn’t answer our important questions.”

The family was seeking answers regarding the maintenance records of the Humvee and the safety record of the driver. The family’s questions surfaced after DiMura spoke with her son’s roommate in Iraq, who told her other soldiers were uncomfortable with the driver, whose name has not been released.

Col. Roy Tario, commander of the 3rd Brigade of the National Guard’s 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division, said the Army had no indication there were concerns about the driver or his record. Tario led Wednesday’s meeting.

Fisher — a gunner assigned to the 42nd’s 1st battalion, 101st Cavalry Regiment — was in Iraq about one month before he was killed Dec. 1.

“We aren’t trying to attack the driver,” said Fisher’s grandfather, Vincent DiMura. “He was a young kid and he feels bad enough already. But he was taking it too fast.”

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