Sunday, April 6, 2003

Two fallen Ohio soldiers mourned




The Associated Press

CLEVELAND - Yellow ribbons ringed trees and American flags flapped in the cold breeze Saturday on the childhood street of one of two northeast Ohio soldiers killed in Iraq.

Army Master Sgt. Robert J. Dowdy, 38, of Cleveland, and Pvt. Brandon Sloan, 19, of Bedford Heights, had been listed as missing since March 23, when the 507th Maintenance Company made a wrong turn during fighting near Nasiriyah and was ambushed.

The Pentagon announced early Saturday morning that the status of Dowdy and Sloan, along with six other soldiers from the 507th, had been changed from missing to killed. The cause of their deaths has not been released.

Jacki Rivera, who lives a few doors down from Dowdy's parents, helped put up the yellow ribbons after Dowdy was declared missing. She said Dowdy's parents are private people and were not making statements.

"I feel their pain," said Rivera, who grew up with Dowdy and his sister.

The announcement of the soldiers' deaths came a few hours after about 200 worshippers gathered to light candles and pray for them. Sloan's father, the Rev. Tandy Sloan, is an associate minister at Historic Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church where the vigil was held Friday night.




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