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March 25, 2003

Parents have tense hours after attack

Their sons are members of the 101st Airborne
Record-Eagle staff writer

TRAVERSE CITY - Two families with sons serving in the Army's 101st Airborne Division spent several tense hours over the weekend after learning of a grenade attack that killed one soldier and injured several others.
      Sgt. Scott Dinse and Pfc. Travis Mandenberg are among the 22,000 members of the 101st stationed in northern Kuwait, where a sergeant is suspected of attacking his fellow soldiers out of resentment.
      "At first I was very upset," said Carlotta Dinse, Scott's mother. "Then I had to stop and think that, no, he said he was heading out."
      Neither the Dinses nor the Mandenbergs have been contacted by military authorities.
      "We really haven't heard anything to this point, so I'm hoping that no news is good news," said Jim Mandenberg of Traverse City, stepfather of Travis, a 21-year-old communication specialist.
      The grenade attack happened at 1:30 a.m. Sunday in Kuwait - 5:30 p.m. Saturday here - in the command center of the 101st Division's 1st Brigade. Killed in the attack was Capt. Christopher S. Seifert, 27, of Easton, Pa.
      Of the 15 injured, seven have been hospitalized. The names of the injured have not been released.
      Military authorities have taken Sgt. Asan Akbar into custody as a suspect in the attack. He is with the 101st Division's 326th Engineering Battalion.
      Duane Dinse of Interlochen said he was "shocked" to learn the grenade attack was apparently initiated by a U.S. soldier.
      "Yes, I was very upset to think that someone would do this to his fellow soldiers," he said. "But it's a reality of war."
      He said he does not expect to hear from his 33-year-old son, a 12-year Army veteran, for quite a while.
      "I think the hardest part is not knowing where he is," Dinse said.
      The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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