Iraq War claims another Montanan

by Pete Talbot

4&20 offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Lt. Col. Garnet “Gary” Derby. He was from Whitehall but listed Missoula as his home. He was killed in Iraq on Monday, along with three other soldiers and an interpreter, in a roadside bombing.

Lt. Col. Derby is the 21st Montana serviceman to die in Iraq (ranking Montana fourth per capita in residents 18-54). Only Vermont, North Dakota and South Dakota lead Montana in number of deaths as a percentage of population.

He is the 4243rd American killed. There have been 31,035 injured. Estimates range from 90,670-98,992 in the number of Iraqis killed as a result of direct military or paramilitary action.

The war enters it’s sixth year next month. Sectarian violence continues. American deaths since George W. Bush proclaimed “mission accomplished”: 4105.

(Update — In the comments below, jhwygirl corrects the number of Montanans killed in Iraq: 29. My fault for working off an incomplete list.)

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  1. When that came up on the Missoulian yesterday I cried.

    My very deepest sympathies for Lt. Col. Derby.

    Derby would be the 29th Montanan killed in Iraq. I’ve kept very close watch on those killed since the very beginning. My nearly complete most recent tribute is here.

    It is missing Sgt. Trevor Johnson age 23 and from Forsyth, who was killed January 27th.

    I don’t know how to explain the discrepancies amongst the various lists.

    Not one soldier forgotten.

  2. Widowmaker

    I think suicide deaths should be on combat death lists. We have lost more serviceman to suicide in 2009 than any other military deaths combined (training + combat). It is more dangerous in their own minds than the streets of Iraq. If only there was body armor against PTSD…

  3. Andrew Dana is on my list, Widowmaker.

    Your point, though, is surely regarding “non-combat” and other deaths too. There is also – I’m not sure the name for it – but, essentially, murder of one soldier by another. Those aren’t counted either in that death toll. At least 1 – maybe 2 – of the deaths of Montanans fall under those nebulous categories.

    Like I said – Not one soldier forgotten. At least if I can help it.

  4. Widowmaker

    I hope you understood jhwygirl that I was actually trying to add a supporting statement. I help council families of fallen soldiers, and it is the most emotionally draining item of my life. What becomes even more difficult is if the service member commits suicide. Their is a misunderstanding amongst friends and family. The wrong assumptions that they were weak and it wasn’t the war that actually killed them. I did recognize that your number included Andrew Dana (I was grateful).

    Every week I look at the pictures of those fallen in the Military/Army/Navy/USAF Times. I say their names over and and over. I’m with you jhwygirl, not one forgotten.




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