LEONARD M. COWHERD

2LT, Armor

Culpeper, VA

Karbala, Iraq; KIA – Small Arms Fire

Second Lieutenant Leonard M. Cowherd, 22, of Culpeper, VA died May 16, 2004 in Karbala, Iraq, when he received sniper and rocket-propelled grenade fire while securing a building near the Mukhayam Mosque.  Cowherd was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Friedberg, Germany. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his wife of less than a year, Sarah Cerri Cowherd of York County, two brothers, Colby A. Cowherd of Alexandria and Charles R. Cowherd of Boston, MA, and his sister, Laura V. Cowherd of Woodbridge.

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At age 22, Second Lieutenant Leonard M. Cowherd became his hometown’s first casualty since Vietnam.  Cowherd died May 16, 2004, a year after he graduated from the United States Military Academy when he received sniper and rocket-propelled grenade fire while securing a building near the Mukhayam Mosque.  Cowherd was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Friedberg, Germany.

In a letter home, Cowherd described military life in Baghdad where living conditions seemed better than usual for the soldiers.  He shared details of his surroundings on the base, a former amusement park called Baghdad Island which Saddam Hussein had created as a small resort for himself and his followers.

Living on the base in Baghdad, Cowherd witnessed the poverty suffered by most of the Iraqi people.  In his letter, Cowherd spoke of trying to help the situation. “The roles that the American soldier must play are numerous: diplomat, traffic cop, judge, humanitarian assistant, and warfighter.  The soldiers over here have done an incredible job juggling those different roles. Yet there is still so much to be done.”

Though Cowherd’s efforts to help the Iraqi people and fight for freedom in the United States after 9/11 were numerous, they could not save him from the sniper and rocket-propelled grenade that ended his life on May 16, 2004.

Cowherd is remembered for his positive outlook on life, and his willingness to help others.  Retired General Barry McCaffrey, who taught Cowherd at West Point, said, “His dedication and professionalism impresses me tremendously. He is an outstanding young soldier.”

Cowherd is survived by his wife of less than a year, Sarah Cerri Cowherd of York County, two brothers, Colby A. Cowherd of Alexandria and Charles R. Cowherd of Boston, MA, and his sister, Laura V. Cowherd of Woodbridge.

Comments
  • Shelley Berry
    Reply

    Thank you for your service! You sir are one of the reasons our flag is always proudly flying💙🇺🇸❤️

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