Oliva soldier among three Minnesota Guardsmen killed in Iraq
Spc. James Wertish, 20, of rural Olivia was one of three Minnesota National Guard soldiers who were killed Thursday evening at a military base near Basra in southern Iraq.
The slain soldier's name was confirmed by the Rev. George Schmit, pastor of St. Mary's Church of Bird Island, where Wertish and his parents, David and Kim of rural Olivia, attend.
The three soldiers were members of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division.
Besides his parents, James Wertish is survived by two sisters and one brother.
He joined the Guard in the summer of 2006. He was a 2007 graduate of BOLD High School.
The families of the other two soldiers say their loved ones were among three U.S. soldiers killed in an attack in Iraq on Thursday.
The mother of 27-year-old Carlos Wilcox of Cottage Grove and the father of 22-year-old Daniel Drevnick of Woodbury say their sons were killed in the attack on a base outside Basra.
Charlene Wilcox says her son was proud to serve his country and hoped to become an Army doctor. She says he loved to travel and had studied in Spain while in college.
Ken Drevnick says his son was a hard worker who planned to become a police officer. Drevnick says his family hadn't heard from Dan since he went back to Iraq earlier this month after a brief trip home.
Wertish, Drevnick and Wilcox were members of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division based in Rosemount.