Graduate of Ottawa-Glandorf dies in northern Iraq
OTTAWA, Ohio - A 1998 graduate of Ottawa-Glandorf High School died Sunday in Iraq after he was fatally wounded by insurgents in Mosul, family members said last night.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Ryan Wobler, 24, a member of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C., was shot several times after emerging from a warehouse in search of support troops, said Anthony Wobler, his father who lives in Leipsic, Ohio.
From an e-mail from a soldier and two Army officers who visited him, Mr. Wobler has pieced together some details on the day shortly before his son's death, he said.
Sergeant Wobler was a lead scout working with a small team of soldiers on Sunday that had ducked into a warehouse.
He ventured outside in an attempt to alert support troops to his location.
"Zach came out of the warehouse, and apparently a car with six people riddled Zach," Mr. Wobler said. His son was fatally wounded in the chest. Zach Wobler continued to fight and was able to kill the driver of the vehicle, his father said.
"He was excellent," his father said. "He was a fantastic guy. I will tell you now I miss him so bad."
He was the 10th soldier from the region to die in Iraq. The family learned of their son's death late Sunday, his father said.
Mr. Wobler said he was proud of the accomplishments of his son, who was intent on becoming a career soldier after entering the military full time in 1999.
His father said he has misgivings about how leaders in Washington have characterized the security climate in Iraq where there are ongoing efforts to bring democracy.
"It is sad you hear how they have everything under control," Mr. Wobler said.
"I listen to a guy like [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld, and he says we have enough troops to do this and to do that. But I have heard my son say repeatedly that we don't have enough troops to do this and to do that.
"How can you fight an enemy when they are allowed to keep their guns?"
Sergeant Wobler had had close calls during his more than a year in Iraq.
"About three weeks ago, I got an e-mail from him," Mr. Wobler said. "He said he got a terrible premonition that something bad was going to happen to his men.
"He said, 'I know you won't understand, but I would die for any of these men because they have families.'"
Sergeant Wobler and his wife, Corissa, now living in the Cleveland area, have been legally separated for two years, his father said. The couple have a 3-year old daughter.
Sergeant Wobler was raised by his father since his early teens. Anthony Wobler and Zachary's mother, Jeanette Poston, were divorced in 1989. She lives in Virginia.
After graduating from Ottawa-Glandorf, Sergeant Wobler joined the Ohio National Guard in Bowling Green and took courses at Owens Community College to become a peace officer.
He completed Army basic training in Missouri and later won numerous honors, including being named Paratrooper of the Year at Fort Bragg in 2002, his father said.