Two from Fort Lewis die in vehicle rollover

Two Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade soldiers died in Iraq on Thursday of injuries suffered in a vehicle accident, officials said Friday.

Staff Sgt. Todd W. Selge, 25, of Burnsville, Minn., and Spc. Jordan M. Shay, 22, of Salisbury, Mass., died in Baqubah, just weeks after their unit arrived in the country.

Both men were serving their second tours of duty in Iraq. Both were assigned to Company A, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

The Department of Defense said the accident that killed Selge and Shay was a rollover, but provided no further details other than that the incident was under investigation.

According to unit records, Selge enlisted in the Army on July 12, 2004. After training at Fort Benning, Ga., he reported to Fort Lewis on Jan. 5, 2005, and served in Iraq from June 2006 to September 2007.

Selge was awarded the Purple Heart during his first tour.

Shay enlisted Nov. 14, 2006, at Salisbury, Mass. He also trained at Fort Benning and reported to Fort Lewis in May 2007.

Selge was married and had two children, according to media reports.

The Army News Service distributed an essay by Selge that concludes: “What does the average soldier think on a daily basis? He wants to accomplish the mission. He wants to see the smiles of the Iraqi people endure. He is grateful for everything he has back home, and he wishes the very same freedom he is fighting for, upon the country of Iraq.”

According to The Boston Globe, Shay was planning to be married when he returned from Iraq. Shay’s father died of cancer when his son was 2, The Globe reported.

The two deaths were the first for the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, since the Fort Lewis unit deployed to Iraq last month.

The 3rd Brigade is the first Stryker brigade to be deployed three times to Iraq. Forty-eight of the brigade’s soldiers died on its first deployment and 20 on its second.

Rob Carson: 253-597-8693