Troops killed at Bagram identified

| June 20, 2013

Robby Ellis

Sparks wrote us about a young man from his church who was killed at Bagram Airbase the other day when the Taliban fired two rockets. Sparks’ friend was Robert “Robby” Wayne Ellis. I’ve been holding off mentioning this until the Pentagon publicly identified the four youngsters and they’ve finally done that today;

30-year-old Spc. William R. Moody of Burleson, Texas;
25-year-old Sgt. Justin R. Johnson of Hobe Sound, Fla.;
21-year-old Spc. Ember M. Alt of Beech Island, S.C.;
21-year-old Spc. Robert W. Ellis of Kennewick, Wash.

Johnson served with the 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade, Fort Eustis, Va. The others served with the 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

From Robby’s hometown newspaper;

Spc. 4 Robby Wayne Ellis, a 2010 graduate of Kennewick High School, served in the Army’s 32nd Transportation Co., based at Fort Carson, Colo.

Ellis, a truck driver in the Army, was recently promoted and had re-enlisted for another five years. He was seven months into his first tour of duty in Afghanistan and was due to return to the U.S. in August.

Army officials said Ellis and three other soldiers were killed when insurgents attacked the sprawling Bagram Air Base, one of the largest military bases in Afghanistan. Few details were available Wednesday, but it appears they were hit with some kind of indirect fire, likely rockets or mortar rounds.

His mother, Joelle Ellis of Kennewick, said Ellis and his comrades were standing at a bus stop on the base when they were attacked.

I know this has really hit Sparks hard, so I extend the condolences of TAH and an offer for anything we can do to help.

Category: Blue Skies

Comments (39)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. 68W58 says:

    Condolences to Sparks.

    Bear this in mind given the discussion we had the other day about combat. Indirect fire is also deadly, though obviously not the same as direct ground combat-when someone is trying to kill you, you’re in combat.

  2. Sparks says:

    Thank you Jonn. I and I know his family appreciate the thoughts of all of you here on TAH. I watched Robbie grow in our church to a fine young man. Please keep him, his fallen comrades and their families in your hearts for me.

  3. streetsweeper says:

    Our condolences go out to the families and friends of these troops. A special condolences out to Mr. Sparks.

  4. Hondo says:

    Rest in peace, my fallen brothers- and sister-in-arms. May God comfort your surviving family and friends.

  5. A Proud Infidel says:

    God Bless, Sparks, my condolences.

  6. SJ says:

    Sign of the Cross. Amen.

  7. rb325th says:

    My condolences to you on the loss of your friend, as well as to his family and the families of all those lost.

  8. OWB says:

    Indeed. Every word that Jonn said from all of us.

  9. Heidi says:

    So sorry for your loss, my condolences to the family and friends

  10. Dave says:

    RIP. Thank you.

  11. Patriette says:

    My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Spc. Robby Ellis. Spc. Ellis, thank you for your service..your sacrifice will not be forgotten.
    Standing For Those Who Stood For Us.

  12. NHSparky says:

    Prayers for the fallen, and Sparks, you have our love and prayers in your time of need. Anything we can do, please let us know.

  13. Lando says:

    I didn’t know her, but Spc. Alt is from my town. Flags were flying at half mast everywhere.

  14. FC2 Dewclaw says:

    Fair winds and following seas, brothers….

  15. Green Thumb says:

    Sleep well, boys.

    You did what many would not, could not or refused to do.


  16. fm2176 says:

    A couple of months ago IDF claimed two newly arrived Aviators while they were sleeping out here. It is every bit as deadly as direct fire, just much more random.

    A team of TOG Soldiers is standing by even as I type this, ready to receive the call regardless of the hour. They’ll be boarding a Blackhawk and flying to Dover to honor these young men and women who gave their all for their country. The gravity of their mission will not hit home until they march out to the K-loader or up the ramp of the C-17 and see those flag-draped transfer cases. Each one will seem to get heavier as it is loaded in the back of the MA truck. The flight back will be much more somber than the flight there…

    RIP my fallen brothers and sister.

  17. B Woodman says:

    Condolences to all the family and friends of those lost this day. It never gets easier.

    To all my fallen brothers-in-arms, fair weather, fair winds, and a smooth road to walk upon.

  18. Sustainer says:

    The 7th Sustainment Brigade was part of the 316th ESC during OIF 07-09. Man, we’ve been at this a long time……Condolences to these Sustainment Soldiers’ families and friends.

  19. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    These fine young people sacrificed their lives, doing their duty, in service to our nation. Nowadays, those words ring hollow for too many of our countrymen. They don’t to us. Duty. Service. Sacrifice.

    The sorrow is great. May God bless each of these soldiers, their grieving families, and their friends.

  20. PintoNag says:

    Sparks, our love and prayers go out to you in this sadness.

    May these young soldiers rest in peace, and may God comfort their families in their loss.

  21. Sparks says:

    Thank you all for all of your kind comments. We don’t have a date yet for Robbie Ellis’ funeral but I will post when we do.

  22. Sparks says:

    I read the news article about the Taliban taking responsibility for the attacks. Perhaps this is not the forum for my anger about this but I cannot hold back the anger and tears. News article as follows:

    “The Taliban claimed responsibility on Wednesday for an attack in Afghanistan that killed four American troops just hours after the insurgent group announced it would hold talks with the U.S. on finding a political solution to ending the nearly 12-year war in the country.

    The deadly attack underscores the challenges ahead in trying to end the violence in Afghanistan through peace negotiations in Qatar with militants still fighting on the ground.

    Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the insurgents fired two rockets into the Bagram Air Base outside the Afghan capital, Kabul, late on Tuesday. American officials confirmed the base had come under attack by indirect fire likely a mortar or rocket and that four U.S. troops were killed.

    The attack came as the Taliban opened a political office in the Qatari capital of Doha, and announced they were ready for peace talks. The decision was a reversal of months of failed efforts to start negotiations while Taliban militants intensified a campaign targeting urban centres and government installations across Afghanistan.”

    What is wrong with these people we are suppose to be trying to help? My eyes are blurred to the point I can hardly type. I am sorry but my memories are flooding back and I remember asking myself the same questions in Vietnam. I remember having to beware of the locals inside the base because they would give information to the VC about places where troops might linger or be easy targets. I don’t know about Iraq and Afghanistan but is there the same threat there? My God I wish I could understand but I understand as little now as I did in Vietnam.

    To all of you who posted such comforting comment please forgive me if my anger and frustration shows. This thread is about the 4 soldiers killed. I do not mean to take away from their honor, memory or the sorrow of their families due to what may be my selfish desires to express my upset.

  23. USMCE8Ret says:

    @23 – It’s alright Sparks. We understand. My hope is that God will reach out to the families and to you and provides comfort in this time of loss.

  24. ChipNASA says:

    *Hugs Sparks*.
    /that is all.
    //Sometimes there are no answers.
    ///Human Beings suck.They kill each other for no damn good reason. Since the beginning of time, until the end of time.
    ////Gods Bless Each and every one of them.

  25. OWB says:

    Sparks, if you cannot share your grief with friends, the friends are not worth much. Hope that our kind words give you comfort, if not today, then maybe tomorrow.

  26. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Sparks. If we take the measure of each lost life in all of our nation’s conflicts, in one sense, the answer will too often be, “It wasn’t worth it.” I have come to that conclusion after many years on this earth. But, in another sense, every sacrifice, every lost limb, every life cut much too short was worth it for sustains a standard of which few of us are worthy. That standard, selflessness, love of country and devotion to duty, is timeless. It was no different (and, certainly, no less a grievous loss) for Washington’s, Grant’s, Lee’s, Pershing’s, Eisenhower’s, and Westmoreland’s troops than it is for our military today.

    It’s not just Iraq and Afghanistan. Today we are allies with Japan and Germany. We buy crap from Vietnam. So, how, then, was all the blood and pain worth it when, in the end, we arrive at what could have been w/o the blood and pain but for the civilian leadership? Yet, most of us don’t dwell on that. We prefer to honor the sacrifices of those who served. After all, most of them/us couldn’t care less about the leaders and decision makers. They serve and sometimes perish, for altogether different reasons.

    (As you can tell, I’m struggling with this one. I hope that my message wasn’t too strained.)

  27. Sparks says:

    @27 No it was helpful. I thank you for your insight.

  28. Hondo says:

    Sparks: for what it’s worth – yes, IMO it was worth it. Your friend’s sacrifice, and that of his comrades, was not in vain.

    You and I have both seen how much of the rest of the world lives, albeit different portions and at different times. We both know from personal experience that much of the rest of the world is not free. And we’ve both seen for ourselves the reality that there are those in this world who hate us, who hate freedom – and who would destroy our way of life and our freedom given the chance.

    Those four young soldiers killed – including your friend – were there defending this nation’s freedom from those who would deny that freedom to us.

    Freedom is not free; the cost of freedom is sometimes incredibly painful. But the alternative to freedom is servitude – slavery, if you prefer that term. And in my book, defending freedom is worth paying the cost.

    Just my unsolicited opinion, so give it the credence you see fit.

  29. Sparks says:

    @29 Thank you Hondo. Sometimes in the height of the emotions we (I) tend to forget what you wrote. Yes they were serving the freedom of our nation. As you wrote we have, at different times seen the cost of that freedom. The world and, I regret, sometimes in our own country, it is forgotten that the price of our freedom has always been and will always be, the blood of those who serve. Thank you again. I always give your opinion great credence.

  30. Sparks says:


    I wanted to tell you how proud I am of the United States Army I served in for how they have conducted themselves in the treatment of our young, fallen soldier, Robbie Ellis. They came immediately to the family and with their help went to the funeral home to make arrangements. They were efficient, courteous and kind beyond measure. There was nothing the family had to do, as the Army had made all arrangements, even with he local funeral home. Except for any special requests of the family, which they honored. They assured the family that in Robbie’s coming home, he will never be left alone. They told them there will always be a soldier with him at all times. They said 14 Army personnel nationwide were assigned just to the details of Robbie’s arrangements. He will be flown today from Dover to home on a C-17 and a soldier will be with him and here for the family until he is buried, with full honors.

    It brings tears to my eyes for his loss and the kindness and dignified, gentle sympathy the Army has shown this family is beyond my words to be able to adequately express.

    Thank you to the United States Army for all you have done for this young soldier and his family. I am even more proud today of my, his and all of you who served than ever before. I will post this on the page you set up for him.

    Thank you,

  31. Sparks says:

    Yesterday we laid to rest SPC Robert Wayne Ellis, the young soldier TAH did a piece on who was killed in Afghanistan 6-18-2013. Again, I thank TAH and all of those who posted their kind words.

    To the point, I could not believe it but a poser showed up. Had Army Dress Blues 2 sizes too big, pants that hung to the ground plus some, a beret that looked like a french mime was wearing it, boots-unshined instead of dress shoes. I was so mad I could hardly pay attention to the grave side service. I mentioned it to the VFW guys and they said it wasn’t the time to confront him and perhaps they were right. The local paper was there taking photos and I did ask the photographer to please get a shot of him. He said he would send it to me and as soon as I get it I will send it to Jonn. This guy looked 17 or 18 with a bit of a beard. He was a shame standing there in front of the Army’s Honor Guard and the casket and flag of this fallen hero. There was a BG who spoke at the ceremony, standing a few folks in front of him and after it was over I went up to him and asked if he would speak to this guy with me. I mean no ribbons not even a NDSM, blings I couldn’t get a good look at but all out of place. The BG looked at him and said he would but then was called away to attend other things and left without saying anything else to me or this POS. You and I see posers probably pretty often but this one got me as none other. I never wanted to give someone a beating as bad as him. Had it not been for my respect and honor of the occasion, the family being there and other obvious reasons I would have taken him to task. Just venting this morning. Thank you for listening and thank you for understanding my anger. Sooner or later, I will see him again and I promise he will remember the ceremony he dishonored.

  32. ChipNASA says:

    Again, I’m so sorry for your loss, and that farking dickhead assmunch sullying what should have been a dignified occasion.
    He *WILL* get his and now, just to reiterate, THIS is why we are here and why we participate.
    As the new Stolen Valor Law becomes common knowledge AND as these scumbags get identified and publicly dealt with, we can only hope and pray, that we are put out of a job, defending stolen valor and each of our services.
    /man hug.

  33. Sparks says:

    @33 Thank you Chip.

  34. PintoNag says:

    @32 Sparks, you did the right thing, not confronting the poser at the funeral. They’re part of the world we live in now, and maybe TAH will get the chance to help you expose the POS for what he is.

    It’s a shame that, in the midst of your time of grief, you were confronted with something that caused so much anger.

  35. Sparks says:

    @35 Like I said sooner or later he will surface again and I will have my chance. POS that he was though, I was the only one who knew except the VFW guys and that is good. His being there did not take away from the solemnity and grace of the ceremony for the hundreds who were there. Again I thank my Army for the outstanding treatment they gave this young fallen soldier and his family. They were the highest of class, all the way.

  36. Joelle Ellis says:

    I am the mother of Spc. Robert Wayne Ellis. I want to thank you all for the kind things you have said. And, thank you for not going up to that “poser” at Robby’s funeral/graveside. I was not aware of that person and I am glad I didn’t see him. Because there would have been one mean momma on their hands!

  37. OWB says:

    Mrs. Ellis: Our thoughts and prayers remain with you. Always.

  38. rb325th says:

    Mrs Ellis, again I am so sorry for the loss of your son. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family. May your son Rest in Peace. He will never be forgotten.