•On June 4, Staff Sergeant Matt Sitton complained of walking round in a 'minefield' on a daily basis to his Florida House Representative:
•On August 2, he died of wounds sustained in an IED blast
•His brigade was suffering on average one amputee casualty a day
•Commanding officer told a Congressional Committee that IED attacks had increased by 45% this year
•Rep Young said: 'Something's wrong with that when the soldiers can see the problems'
•His mother Cheryl has expressed her anger at the futility of his death
By Toby Harnden In Washington
PUBLISHED: 14:19 EST, 24 September 2012 | UPDATED: 15:31 EST, 24 September 2012.
An American soldier killed by a bomb in Afghanistan sent an email to his Congressman weeks earlier stating that he and his men were being placed in 'unnecessary danger'.
Needless death? SSG Matt Sitton, pictured with wife Sarah and newborn son Brodey, questioned the futility of patrolling dangerous minefields for no good reason
The plea from Staff Sergeant Matt Sitton, 26, who ended his email hauntingly 'please pray for us over here' affected Representative Bill Young of Florida so deeply that he has abandoned his previous support for the war.
An aide to Young, chairman of the influential House Appropriations Committee Defense Subcommittee, solemnly read the email into the congressional record during a hearing he had called about the Improvised Explosive (IED) threat.
In his email sent on June 4, SSgt Sitton, from Largo, Florida, whose brigade was suffering an amputee casualty a day, wrote that he appealed to his superiors to cease sending them through 'basically a minefield on a daily basis' for no apparent good reason but had been told to 'stop complaining'.
The married father-of-one said; 'I am all for getting on the ground and fighting for my country when I know there is a desired end state and we have clear guidance of what needs to be done. But when we are told basically to just walk around for a certain amount of time [it] is not sitting well with me.'
SSgt Sitton clearly feared for his own life and those of his men. 'As a Brigade, we are averaging at a minimum an amputee a day from our soldiers because we are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives.'
The number of patrols his platoon of 25 had to take - equivalent, he said, to the burden normally carried by 35 to 40 men - was dangerous, he argued.
'Not to mention that the operation tempo that every solider is on leaves little to no time for rest and refit. The morale and alertness levels on our patrol are low and it is causing casualties left and right.'