27 Sep 2006:
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 944-06
September 22, 2006
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Master Sgt. Robb G. Needham, 51, of Vancouver, Wash., died in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sept.20, of injuries suffered when his patrol came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during combat operations. Needham was assigned to the Army Reserve's 1st Battalion, 356th Regiment (Logistical Support), 4th Brigade, 91st Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.
Robb G. Needham
Monday, September 25 2006 @ 08:34 AM EDT
Contributed by: tomw
Oregon Live -- VANCOUVER -- Master Sgt. Robb G. Needham, 51, had the smile of an optimist. Just look at his official Army photo.
"That's him, all the time," said his mother, Margaret E. Needham. "Always smiling, always smiling."
Loved ones remembered Needham Friday as a big-hearted family man who believed it was his duty to serve in Iraq.
Needham died Wednesday when his patrol encountered small arms fire, according to a Department of Defense news release. The Rev. John Bishop, a family pastor, said he was killed by a sniper's bullet while on patrol near Baghdad. He was stationed at Fort Lewis near Tacoma.
He would have turned 52 on Oct. 26, and was among the oldest U.S. soldiers and Marines killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. At least 14 others 50 or older have died in those conflicts.
Yet his age never came up in conversations and e-mails with Bishop, a senior pastor at Living Hope Church in Vancouver, where Needham was a member.
Catherine M. Needham, his wife, is an English teacher at New Generation Christian School, which is affiliated with the east Vancouver church. The couple has an adult daughter and son and two grandchildren. They requested privacy.
Needham was serving his third tour of duty in Iraq, Bishop said, and believed strongly that the United States could help foster a democracy in the war-torn country. He was assigned to the Army Reserve's 1st Battalion, 356th Regiment (Logistical Support), 4th Brigade, 91st Division at Fort Lewis.
"Robb was probably one of the most selfless, courageous people I've met in a long time," Bishop said, who recalled that Needham would send e-mails from Iraq asking about the pastor's battle with cancer. "He had an amazing resolve to do what he thought was the right thing in life."
Services in Needham's honor will be held at the church, 10702 N.E. 117th Ave., at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; and at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Needham would sometimes share his combat experiences, Bishop said.
"He was in special operations -- very front line," he said. "He trained the Iraqi commandos and police special forces. Everything he did was extremely top secret."
To some extent, that's how his 78-year-old mother preferred it.
"He knew it upset me, so he wouldn't talk to me about it," said Margaret Needham, who moved to Vancouver from Arizona about a year ago, after the death of her husband, to be near her son and his family. A framed collection of color photos of her son in his Army uniform sat in the front window of her Fisher's Landing-area home Friday. A swatch of black cloth covered a corner of the frame.
But he would sometimes share his concerns about the Iraqi people.
"The thing he felt bad about was the little kids," said his mother, "He said they'd scrounge for food. He didn't like to see so many people struggling to get by."
Address has changed
10 Sep 2006
I appreciate what you are doing for the Soldiers over here. A little history-This is the second time I've been here as an advisor to the Iraqi army. 1st time was with the Iraqi Intervention Force(Quick Reactionary Force) and know with the INP (Iraqi National Police). Has been very difficult this time.
MSG Robb G. Needham
03 Sep 2006
chili in a box