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THE PATH TO PEACE

GI Struck by Car Is First U.S. Fatality of Peacekeeping Mission

July 06, 1999|From a Times Staff Writer

SKOPJE, Macedonia — An Army specialist struck by a car here over the weekend became the first American soldier to die in NATO's Kosovo peacekeeping mission, U.S. military officials said Monday.

Spc. Anthony W. Gilman, 23, of Michael, Ill., was hit by the car Sunday afternoon after he stepped into traffic to place a warning triangle on a road to alert approaching motorists to the site of an accident.

Two people in the car that struck Gilman, who was assigned to B Company, 94th Engineer Battalion, also died as a result of the crash. Their identities were unavailable Monday.

The tragic turn of events began about noon when two vehicles traveling in a military convoy from Salonika, Greece, to Camp Able Sentry in Skopje, the Macedonian capital, got into an accident near a tunnel. No one was injured.

But as Gilman set up the warning triangle in the road, a military vehicle got into an accident with a civilian vehicle. The latter struck Gilman, killing him and fatally injuring two people in the car.

"The unfortunate thing was that Spc. Gilman was doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing," Army Capt. Paul Swiergosz said. "It just tears your heart out."

Two U.S. helicopter pilots were killed in May when their Apache AH-64 crashed during a training exercise in Albania, about six weeks into NATO's 11-week air campaign against Yugoslavia.

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