By JEFF LATZKE
The Associated Press
Thursday, January 25, 2007; 10:51 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The top U.S. surgeon in Iraq was among the 12 soldiers killed when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed near Baghdad, military officials said Thursday.
Col. Brian D. Allgood, 46, was one of two active-duty soldiers killed in Saturday's crash in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad. The 10 others were members of the National Guard, making it the deadliest single combat incident for the Guard since at least the Korean War, said Mark Allen, a National Guard Bureau spokesman.
A Pentagon official has said debris at the crash site indicated the helicopter was downed by a surface-to-air missile, but American military officials in Baghdad have declined to confirm that.
The military has relied heavily in the Iraq war on the Guard, which provided about 50 percent of the Army's combat power in the campaign during 2005, Allen said.
The percentage has been scaled back. As of Jan. 12, there were 22,500 Army National Guard soldiers deployed among the 132,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and 10,000 in transit.
Allgood, whose father and two uncles served in Vietnam, had spent more than 20 years in the military.
"Brian was a wonderful human being," his mother, Cleo Allgood, told The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colo. "He was a wonderful brother, son, husband and father. He just was a giving person who served his country."
Allgood had been serving in Iraq for about six months before the crash, said his uncle, Dr. Richard Allgood of Lawton.
A Colorado Springs native who had lived in Oklahoma, Allgood graduated from West Point in 1982 and from the University of Oklahoma Medical Center four years later, his uncle said. He completed his residency at Fort Sam Houston military medical complex in San Antonio and continued with his military career.
"He just really was a wonderful young man," Richard Allgood said. "I think that he always wanted to be in the military, and I think that's what he thought his life and function was going to be. I think he did it willingly. I don't think he had any reservations about what he was doing."
During his military career, Allgood had parachuted into Panama and had served as the commanding officer of the hospital at West Point, his uncle said. He was the commanding officer of medical facilities in Korea for two years before being sent to Iraq.
Brian Allgood's wife, Jane, and son, Wyatt, were living in Germany, where he was to be stationed in July, Allgood's uncle said. He also had a brother and a sister.
Associated Press Writer Pauline Jelinek in Washington contributed to this report.