Military News

Major killed in Iraq was committed to others

An hour before Sunday's rocket attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, Maj. Stuart A. Wolfer sent an e-mail back to his manager in the states.

Wolfer, a Boise trial lawyer known as "Stu," was "150 percent committed, 150 percent engaged and always looking for ways to improve any process or procedure that he felt needed to be changed," Allan Milloy of Thomson West wrote in a company e-mail.

The attack took the life of two soldiers involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to a Department of Defense announcement Tuesday.

Wolfer, 36, was assigned to the 11th Battalion, 104th Division, Boise, and served as a logistics officer at Phoenix Base in Baghdad.

The other soldier was Col. Stephen K. Scott, 54, of New Market, Ala.

"They died April 6 in Baghdad of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with indirect fire," a Defense statement said.

News of Wolfer's death spread by e-mail literally around the world, sent by friends, co-workers and those who remember him as the father who dropped his daughters off at school by saying, "I love you, beautiful."

The Wolfers have three daughters: Lillian Wade, 5; Melissa Lacey-Marie, 3; and Isadora Ruth, 1.

"He was a very loving and amazing father," Lee Anne, his wife, said in a written statement. "He called his children beautiful because he said they looked like their mother. He held his family foremost in his life. Stuart was an amazing man and will continue to live on in the hearts of those he touched forever."

According to news reports, Wolfer was in the gym at Phoenix Base inside a safe zone at the time of the 3:30 p.m. attack. The blast also wounded 17 soldiers, an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"It's a tough day for us," the official said Sunday. "These are our colleagues, our friends."

"Stu forged strong relationships with just about everyone he encountered," said Peter Warwick, president and chief executive officer of Thomson North American Legal, Wolfer's employer.

"Stu was a wonderful person," Warwick told the Idaho Statesman Tuesday.

When he heard the news of Wolfer's death, Warwick sent a message to company employees. In it, he included one of many e-mails Wolfer sent to co-workers:

"The last few weeks have been incredible," Wolfer wrote. "I spent a day visiting the Iraqi Military Academy at Rustamiyah. The flight over started off with me sitting across from a fellow Reuters camera man from Baghdad. We embraced and said hello and then I explained to him that we were on the same team. He let me take a photo with his camera at about 1,000 feet."

It was that kind of expression that created bonds between Wolfer and those he met.

Rosemary Regner of Eagle, an associate, said Wolfer had many friends.

"He was a degreed attorney," Regner said. "I remember ... he received (his first) notice of his call to duty during the Idaho State Bar meeting, and he was very grave about the news. He returned, and we were all very happy to have him back."

Wolfer, who would have turned 37 on April 23, was called up from the Army Reserves for active-duty service with the Army in 2004, and served in Kuwait for a year.

He was called up again and left for Iraq on Dec. 29, 2007.

His military job as a logistics officer was to assist the international forces in their work to return control of the country back to Iraqi citizens.

"In addition to his official duties," Warwick said, "he also was a volunteer with the newly established Boy Scouts International Association in Baghdad, saying, 'If we are going to be turning Iraq over to the citizens, they have to have leaders. You have to develop them, and starting them early with Boy Scouts is one of the ways that we can do this.' "

He began his military service in the Army ROTC program while attending Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

When he graduated in 1993, he had advanced to the rank of second lieutenant.

He was assigned to an Army unit in Iowa in 1995. That's where he met his wife. They were married in August 2001.

After transferring to the U.S. Army Reserve, he attended and graduated from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He later began working for Thomson West Legal in Minneapolis, Minn., as a territory manager for Idaho and Montana.

According to Rabbi Dan Fink of Ahavath Beth Israel, the synagogue in Boise, the family was very active in the congregation.

"He was a stalwart member of the community," Fink said. "He dearly loved his family and stayed in constant touch with them while he was away."

Fink said the family regularly exchanged letters, packages and e-mail.

"The Idaho National Guard offers condolences to the Wolfer family," a statement issued Tuesday by the Department of Defense said. "Maj. Stuart A. Wolfer was a patriot who served with honor, in the finest traditions of a citizen-soldier, when his country called on him."

In addition to his family in Emmett, he has relatives in Iowa, New York and Florida.

Services will take place in Iowa and in Boise at a later date.

David Kennard: 377-6436