Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Minus 149 Days - Journalist Jill Carroll Kidnapped in Iraq

The Boston Herald reports this morning Jill Carroll, a 28-year-old freelancer for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped Saturday in Baghdad, when gunmen ambushed her car and killed her translator. She had been on her way to meet a Sunni Arab official in one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

After initial reports of the kidnapping on Saturday, The Associated Press and other news organizations honored a request from the newspaper in Boston and a journalists' group in Baghdad for a news blackout. The request was made to give authorities an opportunity to try to resolve the incident during the early hours after the abduction.

Jill Carroll's ties to a paper with "Christian" in the title was also a likely concern when dealing with Islamic fundamentalists, noted one editor who had agreed not to publish a story on the incident. "That could put her life more in danger," the editor said.

Carroll's parents live in Ann Arbor, Mich. She moved to Jordan six months before the Iraq war started "to learn as much about the region as possible before the fighting began," she wrote in the February/March edition of American Journalism Review.

"All I ever wanted to be was a foreign correspondent," she wrote last year in the magazine. "It seemed the right time to try to make it happen."

Please join us in prayer for Jill's safety and a quick release from her captors.
He is the God who avenges me,
who puts the nations under me,
who sets me free from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from violent men you rescued me.
Therefore I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations;
I will sing praises to your name.
(2 Samuel 22:48-50)