FORT LEWIS, Wash. – A career soldier from Vancouver, Wash., was killed in Iraq when his patrol came under fire during a combat operation in Baghdad, Army officials said Friday.
Master Sgt. Robb G. Needham, 51, died Sept. 20 from injuries he suffered when his group “came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire,” according to a news release from Fort Lewis.
Needham was assigned to the Army Reserve’s 1st Battalion, 356th Regiment (Logistical Support), 4th Brigade, 91st Division at this post south of Tacoma.
He joined the Army in July 1973, most recently working as a mechanical maintenance supervisor. Needham served as a human resources specialist, infantryman and construction equipment repairer during his 33 years of military service.
In February 2003 – leading up to the Iraq war’s beginning that March – Needham’s unit was mobilized and he was called to active duty. He volunteered for a six-month tour in Iraq in June 2004 and was released from active duty in January 2005.
The following January, Needham again volunteered to return to Iraq and helped train Iraqi troops.
At least 54 military personnel from Washington state have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003. Needham was the 10th from Fort Lewis to die this year.