Forest Grove, UP grad dies in Iraq non-combat incident

Soldier with ties to Oregon dies in Iraq

A Forest Grove High and University of Portland graduate has died in a non-combat incident in Iraq, the Pentagon said Sunday.

1st Lt. David Bauders, 25, of Seattle, died Friday at Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq, the Pentagon said.

Bauders was serving with the Washington National Guard's 176th Engineer Co., which deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in April, Guard spokesman Capt. Joseph Siemandel told USA TODAY.

Siemandel said Bauders' death remained under investigation and that no details were immediately available.

Bauders was commissioned as an engineer in May 2013 after graduating from the University of Portland with a sociology major and psychology minor.

The University of Portland issued a statement that read, in part, "We are extremely saddened to hear of the loss of First Lt. David Bauders. The thoughts and prayers of the entire UP community are with him, as well as his family and friends."

The 176th specializes in construction,Siemandel said.

Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, adjutant general of Washington National Guard, noted that Bauders devoted his time to better both the state and the nation.

"That is how we will remember him - a selfless soldier willing to put others first," Daugherty said in a statement.

Bauders was sworn in as a state trooper in March 2014 and patrolled North Seattle and King County. He joined the state patrol in 2013, as a trooper cadet assigned to the property management division and entered the academy in 2014, according to Chief John Batiste.

"Although early into his career with us, David was a very well-liked and highly respected member of the agency's District 2 family," Batiste said in a statement.

"He was a young man who was building a future wholly devoted to serving and protecting the people of our state and our nation. The loss of this young life is one I know all 7 million Washingtonians join me in mourning," said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Bauders graduated Forest Grove High School in 2009 and was an athlete who loved track and field. 

Neighbors in Forest Grove, where his family lives, are stunned to hear the news. Daran Davis says his children grew up playing with Bauders. "David was great he was very intellectual, very kind. spent time playing with our kids," he said. "It is tough because you do hear it on the news, and you know its happening, but until it happens in your neighborhood that's when it really hits home."

Bauders was single and did not have any children.

The death came three days after Navy SEAL Charlie Keating, grandson of Arizona savings-and-loan financier Charles H Keating, died in northern Iraq when Islamic State militants penetrated Kurdish defensive lines.

Keating's was the third American combat death in Iraq since the U.S. military deployed advisers and other personnel there in 2014 to support the war against the Islamic State.


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