An officer from the Washington National Guard died Friday at an air base in Iraq, the Pentagon announced early Sunday.
Lt. David Bauders, 25, died while serving with the 176th Engineer Company, a Snohomish-based unit that also helped in the recovery of the Oso mudslide in March 2014.
Bauders, a Seattle resident, was killed in a noncombat incident at Al Asad Air Base. The Defense Department did not release any other information about the incident, and the cause of his death is under investigation, a National Guard spokesman said.
“The loss of a soldier is tremendously hard on this organization, but more so for David’s family, friends and loved ones,” Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty of the Washington National Guard said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time, David sacrificed his time and efforts to better our state and nation, and for that, we are extremely grateful. That’s how we will remember him — a selfless soldier willing to put others first.”
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As a civilian, Bauders was a trooper in the Washington State Patrol. He was sworn in as a trooper in March 2014 and patrolled North Seattle and King County, a Washington State Patrol spokesman said.
“Although early into his career with us, David was a very well-liked and highly respected member of the agency’s District 2 family,” Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said. “Please keep David’s family, co-workers and friends, along with our nation’s military personnel deployed overseas, in your thoughts and prayers. Memorial service information is pending.”
Bauders was commissioned into the National Guard in May 2013 as an ROTC cadet out of the University of Portland.
Al Asad Air Base in Iraq’s western Anbar Province was one of the largest forward bases used by American troops during the Iraq War.
Today, it’s a hub in the fight against Islamic State militants who have been in control of much of Anbar Province for the past two years. A group of Islamic State suicide bombers attacked it in February.
An Army news story about the engineer company’s preparations for its deployment in October said its Iraq mission was its first as a whole unit to the war. It specializes in construction, suggesting its soldiers were building up the air base. The unit arrived in Iraq last month.