Fallen Dutch soldier flown home to family
13 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — The body of the Dutch soldier killed in a grenade attack in Iraq earlier this week arrived back in the Netherlands on Thursday morning. Sergeant Dave Steensma, the first Dutch soldier to die in Iraq, will be buried with military honours.
A Fokker-60 plane bearing the remains of the 36-year-old flew into Leeuwarden air force base at 1.15am on Thursday.
A short ceremony was held in which six of Steensma colleagues took possession of the coffin from air force personnel.
Another 13 of his colleagues in camouflage uniforms who had flown with the coffin from Iraq formed an honour guard with members of the deceased’s family.
Steensma’s commander, Lieutenant-colonel P. Wilming of the 12th infantry battalion of the airborne brigade then officially surrendered the coffin to the family and they left the base, news agency ANP reported.
Steensma was killed on Monday when insurgents threw grenades as his vehicle crossed a bridge over the Euphrates River. Two members of the patrol were injured, Steensma fatally.
A short time after the attack two suspects were detained by Iraqi police. They have since been handed over to British forces.
Steensma, from the town of Franeker, is survived by his wife and two children. His body was flown by helicopter to Kuwait where it was put on the plane to the Netherlands.
His family are said to be in talks with the military about the funeral, which is to involve “some form of military ceremony”. But the exact details of the funeral have yet to be announced.
Steensma was the first Dutch soldier to die in combat since the death of Raviv van Renssen in Srebrenica in 1995.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + Iraq