Defence ministry accepts online notes of sympathy

Persons wishing to express sympathy to the family of 1st Lt. Olafs Baumanis, the first Latvian soldier killed in the Iraq war, may now do so online, the Latvian Ministry of Defence has announced.

The 34-year-old Baumanis, second-in-command of the Latvian demining unit deployed in Iraq, was killed June 8 during a mortar attack on a munitions dump near Suwariyah, a city southeast of Baghdad. Baumanis was one of six Coalition soldiers killed in the attack.

Military officials initially described the event as an accident, but on June 9 the Ministry of Defence said the soldiers died during a mortar attack that came as they were preparing unexploded munitions for destruction. In addition to Baumanis, three Slovakian and two Polish soldiers died in the attack.

Messages of sympathy may be posted on the Ministry of Defence’s Web site in the “Sarunas” section, which is found at

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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