BOISE, Idaho (AP) — In the days since Dane Partridge was fatally wounded while serving as a volunteer soldier in Ukraine, his sister has found moments of comfort in surprising places: First, a misplaced baseball cap discovered in her laundry room, then in a photo of a battered pickup truck with only one tire intact.
The 34-year-old Idaho man died Tuesday from injuries sustained during during a Russian attack in Luhansk.
A former U.S. Army infantryman, Partridge felt “spiritually called” to volunteer with the Ukranian military as they defend the country from invading Russian forces, his sister Jenny Corry said. He flew to Poland on a one-way ticket in April, his rucksack packed with body armor, a helmet and other tactical gear.
“Made it to the embassy, getting on a bus for the border,” Partridge wrote on his Facebook page on April 27. “From this point on I will not likely be giving locations or actions for opsec reasons. I will let you all know I’m alive.”
Partridge joined a military unit that included several volunteers from other countries, Corry said, the men mostly relying on interpreters to communicate. Partridge and his fellow soldiers were in Severodonetsk, a city in the Luhansk region, when he was hit in the head with shrapnel during an attack by Russian fighting vehicles, Corry said.
The unit had no stretchers and was still under attack, Corry said, but Partridge’s fellow soldiers carried him out on a blanket and loaded him and other injured colleagues into a drab-painted pickup truck to rush them to safety.
“I have a picture of the truck,” Corry said in a phone interview Friday. The photo shows a drab-painted pickup with shredded rubber hanging off the wheel hubs. All but one of the tires were destroyed in the grim rush to safety.
“As a family, we really like that picture of the vehicle — it speaks to the bravery of how they tried to save their men, and the way they pushed that vehicle to its last leg just to get to the hospital,” she said. “It speaks volumes.”
Partridge leaves behind five young children. Corry deflected questions about the children and some other parts of Partridge’s life, saying the family had jointly agreed to focus on his military service out of respect to those “who are still living and still affected by his personal life.”
“We want to just focus on the good that he did and don’t want to mention any personal things,” Corry said in a phone interview Friday.
Military service has been a large part of Partridge’s life. He was the youngest of five kids, and his father was a member of the U.S. Air Force. As a child, Partridge liked to dress up in his dad’s oversized camouflage uniform and play “army guy” in the dirt, Corry said.
By the time he’d graduated high school, Partridge had grown into a gregarious man with a booming voice and
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