4th Bucks serviceman in 4 weeks dies in Iraq

Posted: May 27, 2007

The fourth Bucks County serviceman to be killed in Iraq in four weeks died Thursday of wounds from earlier combat operations in Baghdad.

The Defense Department announced the death of Spec. Robert Dembowski Jr., 20, of Ivyland, a 2005 graduate of Council Rock High School North in Newtown Township and the Bucks Institute of Technology.

According to an unofficial list on www.pahometownheroes.org, eight Bucks County military personnel have been among the more than 30 from Philadelphia and its four Pennsylvania suburban counties who have died since 9/11.

On April 29, Marine First Lt. Travis Manion, 26, who grew up in Doylestown Township, was killed near Fallujah. On May 3, Army First Lt. Colby Umbrell, 26, of Doylestown, died near Musayyib. On May 14, Army Sgt. Allen J. Dunckley Jr. of Yardley was killed in Salman Pak.

"Spec. Dembowski was a highly dedicated paratrooper," said Capt. Aaron King, rear detachment commander for Dembowski's battalion. "He was dedicated not only to his profession but also in serving this great nation." He earned the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Dembowski joined the Army in January 2006, and completed the basic airborne course at Fort Benning, Ga., in April 2006. In Iraq, he was a company radio transmitter with the First Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division.

The Associated Press reported that he had died "of injuries sustained from enemy small-arms fire during combat operations in Baghdad."

The Bucks County Courier Times reported Friday that, in a 2005 article, Dembowski said "he was at peace with the idea of dying young."

Soon after making his military commitment, the 18-year-old spoke to World War II veterans from Newtown.

Bernadette Heenan, a Council Rock school board member at the ceremony, said: "He was absolutely amazing. He touched so many of those World War II veterans."

Dembowski is survived by his parents, Robert Sr. and Frances, and his sister, Janice, all of Ivyland.

Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-701-7614 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.

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