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US trooper Uday Singh wanted to save the world
December 04, 2003 22:06 IST
Last Updated: December 04, 2003 22:34 IST
'Hey everybody... I'm in Kuwait right now just waiting till I head on to Iraq... Just wanted to drop in a word... You all have fun and take care while I go save the whole world...'
This was the last email 21-year-old India-born US Army trooper Uday Singh had sent to his parents before he fell in an ambush near Habbaniyah Air Force base, located 65 miles west of Baghdad, while on patrol on December 1.
"The US forces were on a routine patrol, which came under fire and Uday got hit and died on way to hospital," US Army's casualty assistance officer Steven Stoiber said.
Uday, who recently migrated to the US, was assigned to C Company, Ist Battalion, 34th Armoured Regiment, Ist Infantry Division of Fort Riley, Kansas.
Uday is the first Indian to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was still an Indian national and a US Green Card holder on the threshold of becoming a US citizen.
Talking to reporters at his residence in Sector 18 in Chandigarh, Col P M S Taunque, Uday's father, who retired from the Indian Army, said that the family had migrated to the US a few years back and decided to settle there.
"I took Uday to US Marine Recruiting Station in August 2000, but he decided to join the US Army eventually...Uday's grandfather Kartar Singh who served the Indian Air Force inspired him a lot," he said.
Uday, who finished his schooling at St Stephen's in Sector 45 here, enlisted in the US Army at the age of 18.
After completing military training at Fort Knox-Kentucky, Uday moved to Fort Riley-Kansas, where his unit was stationed. Shortly thereafter the unit was moved to Kuwait.
The call of duty took Uday to Iraq in September 2003. Uday's promotion to the rank of sergeant had come through shortly before his death.
Taunque, who retired in 1995, said his son had great love for fast cars and bikes. "He was a boy who loved action and ultimately gave up his life for his love to be where action is."
Asked why his son had chosen to join the US Army and not Indian Army, he said the choice was guided probably by the family 's decision to settle in the US.
Uday's mother struggled to hold back her tears and said in a choked voice that her son had often told the family that he was proud to serve the army. "He used to call me and tell me how the life in army was so difficult. Uday wrote me that he used to give orders to his servants at home, but now was getting used to being shouted at."
The family is waiting for his body to arrive in Chandigarh, which may take a week.