Potomac News Online | Spc. Ruhren, a 2002 Gar-Field graduate, was killed in Iraq

A 2002 graduate of Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge was among the 18 Americans killed Tuesday in an apparent suicide attack at a military dining tent in Mosul, Iraq.

Virginia Army National Guardsman Spc. David Ruhren, 20, of northern Stafford County, was killed in what is now the deadliest single attack on American troops since the war in Iraq began.

Ruhren was a member of the Marine Junior ROTC program in high school.

Officials did not immediately release his name because of a U.S. Department of Defense policy stipulating that names of military personnel killed cannot be released until 24 hours after family members have been contacted, according to Lt. Col. Chester Carter, public affairs officer for the Virginia Army National Guard.

He is the second 2002 Gar-Field High School graduate to die in Iraq. Marine Sgt. Brian Medina was killed Nov. 12.

Also killed in Tuesday’s attack was Spc. Nicholas Mason, 20, who graduated from King George High School in King George County in 2002 and was a student at Virginia Tech.

A candlelight vigil was held in Mason’s honor Thursday at King George High School.

Both men were assigned to the Richmond-based 276th Engineer Battalion, and they are the unit’s first fatalities since its arrival in Iraq nearly a year ago.

Ruhren was a member of the Fredericksburg-based 229th Engineer Company, which is attached to the battalion.

Mason, at one point, had been a member of that company.

On Wednesday before details were released, Gov. Mark R.Warner asked Stafford County officials to fly American and county flags at half-staff in honor of someone killed in Iraq, said Stafford County Public Information Officer Cathy Riddle.

Sen. George Allen, R-Va., released a statement regarding Tuesday’s attack in Mosul, expressing sympathy and support to families who have lost loved ones there.

“… All our patriots who lost their lives in this treacherous attack in Iraq will always be remembered in the hearts and minds of their families and friends, their communities, our Commonwealth and indeed, our nation,” Allen said.

At least 12 military personnel with ties to the Fredericksburg and Prince William County area have been killed in Iraq.

In addition to Medina, other local troops killed in Iraq are Army Sgt. Jack Bryant Jr., of Dale City, and Army Capt. S.M. Khan, of Bristow.

Tracy Bell writes for the Stafford County Sun.

Contributing Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Jeremy Redmon was traveling with the unit in Mosul when the blast occurred.

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