Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Grieving father outspoken on Iraq

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND - The father of a soldier killed when his convoy was ambushed after taking a wrong turn has emerged as one of the most vocal of the U.S. parents who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq.

The Rev. Tandy Sloan has become a familiar figure in Cleveland and has sent terse statements to news outlets labeling the fate of his son's unit as a "preposterous" tragedy.

Despite his outspokenness, Sloan generally keeps his pain private about the death of 19-year-old Army Pfc. Brandon U. Sloan in the March 2003 ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company.

Almost two months after Brandon's funeral, the family was told that an exhausted commander of 507th led his convoy down the wrong route in the desert and into a battle that left Brandon and 10 others dead.

"I became outspoken on politics the day Brig. Gen. Harold Bromberg told me my son was left behind," Sloan said recently.

Seven others from the unit survived the ambush, including rescued Pfc. Jessica Lynch.

Sloan was told of logistical problems that doomed his son's unit - navigational errors, heavy vehicles that bogged down in the sand, jammed guns, inadequate radios.

"I was appalled," he said. "I could not believe they would have my son in such a predicament."

Army public affairs officers referred calls to the officials who investigated the ambush in Kuwait. Calls to those officials went unanswered Monday.

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