A 29-year-old Iowa native was killed and four other Iowa National Guard soldiers from a unit based in Burlington were injured Sunday morning in Iraq. Second Lieutenant Richard “Brian” Gienau was killed when the Humvee he was riding in was struck by a bomb. Lieutenant Greg Hapgood, a spokesman for the Iowa National Guard, says at about 10:50 a-m Iraq time the five soldiers were driving on a road near Karbala when an “improvised explosive device” detonated. Gienau was pronounced dead at the scene. Gienau is a 1994 graduate of Tripoli High School. He enlisted in the Navy after high school and served as a Navy aviation mechanic ’til 1998. In 1999, he enlisted in the Iowa National Guard then enrolled at the University of Northern Iowa, where he was in the ROTC. He graduated from UNI in 2003. He leaves behind a son and his parents as well as a girlfriend. His mother lives in Dunkerton; his father lives in Waterloo. His family issued a statement, saying “Brian was very proud to serve his country and believed deeply in what he was doing.” His family called Brian “well-liked and easy-going.” The four soldiers in the Humvee with Gienau were injured. Thirty-two-year-old Dennis Smutzer of Moline, Illinois, was quickly flown to a military hospital in Germany for treatment. Twenty-two-year-old Seth Garceau of Oelwein was initially treated at a hospital in Baghdad, but was flown to a hospital in Germany. Twenty-three-year-old Justin Edgington of West Burlington was treated at the same combat hospital in Iraq. His injuries were the most minor of the gruop and he’s back on duty now. Twenty-two-year-old Timothy Shay of Muscatine is being treated at a combat hospital. Shay should be released to duty soon, according to Hapgood. The Burlington-based engineering battalion in which these soldiers serve has units in Fairfield, Burlington, Ottumwa, Mount Pleasant, Keokuk and Davenport. Five-hundred soldiers in the 224th Engineering Battalion were activated in October of last year. The soldiers work at reducing mine fields, repairing bridges and roads and providing escorts to supply convoys.
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