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5th Engineer died Saturday in Iraq
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Jan. 27, 2009) — Little information was immediately available Tuesday afternoon regarding a non-combat death of a member of Fort Leonard Wood’s 5th Engineer Battalion.

A Department of Defense press release posted about 2:30 p.m. reported that circumstances surrounding the death of Pvt. Grant A. Cotting, 19, of Corona, Calif., are under investigation. The DOD press release referred further inquiries to Fort Leonard Wood’s public affairs office, but post spokesman Mike Alley said no comment would be made pending completion of the ongoing investigation.

The DOD press release stated that Cotting died on Jan. 24 in the Iraqi city of Kut, due to “injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident.”

Cotting was a member of the 515th Sapper Company of the 5th Engineer Battalion, which is a subordinate unit of the new 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade that is headquartered at Fort Leonard Wood.

When the unit deployed in April 2008, battalion commander Lt. Col. Joel Cross said the primary mission of the unit with more than 400 soldiers would be to repair roads in Iraq after they’ve been blown up by improvised explosive devices, but said the soldiers would also be doing route clearance missions to find and destroy those devices before they blow up roads and vehicles.

The unit is on a scheduled 15-month deployment. It’s now one of several different Fort Leonard Wood “Forces Command” or FORSCOM units; for many years until the 94th Engineer Battalion, 50th Multirole Bridge Company, and several other units were moved from other Army posts to Fort Leonard Wood, the 5th Engineers was Fort Leonard Wood’s only large “go-to-war” deployable unit. The 5th Engineers were moved to Fort Leonard Wood in 1957, deployed for the first Gulf War in 1990 to defend Saudi Arabia and liberate Kuwait, and have been deployed three times so far to Iraq since 2003.

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