Family grieves loss of soldier in Iraq

Seth Dvorin, 24, native
of Middlesex Co., killed in Feb. 3 explosion

Staff Writer

Seth Dvorin, 24, native

Rebekah Dvorin, sister of Seth, after being presented with a flag last week at the East Brunswick Jewish Center on Ryders Lane.Rebekah Dvorin, sister of Seth, after being presented with a flag last week at the East Brunswick Jewish Center on Ryders Lane.

of Middlesex Co., killed in Feb. 3 explosion


Staff Writer

The family of an East Brunswick man killed last week in Iraq is mourning his death and is upset by its cause — a war and occupation they can’t support.

PHOTOS BY JEFF GRANIT staff Richard Dvorin holds up a picture of his son at his home in East Brunswick.PHOTOS BY JEFF GRANIT staff Richard Dvorin holds up a picture of his son at his home in East Brunswick.

Seth J. Dvorin, a 24-year-old serving as a lieutenant with the U.S. Army, was killed Feb. 3 while trying to dismantle a bomb near Iskandariyah, south of Baghdad. The bomb, an improvised explosive device, or I.E.D., was detonated by remote control, his family learned. He was the only soldier killed in the explosion.

"According to the medics, they got to him immediately, but said even if there was a hospital across the street, there was nothing they could do," said his father, Richard Dvorin, 61, a retired New Brunswick police officer and resident of Deerfield Road in East Brunswick.

"Fortunately, he did not suffer," he said.

The incident is still being investigated, though the family, which were told of his death when Army officials appeared at their house later on Feb. 3, did receive a preliminary account from the military.

Seth had been leading a patrol on a counter mission to clear an area of mines and bombs when he saw something suspicious in the roadway. He ordered his driver to stop the vehicle, and both he and the driver got out. They moved on foot toward the device, with the driver providing security as Seth went to identify it.

Once Seth confirmed it was a remote-control device, he warned the platoon and the driver right before the device went off, killing him and seriously injuring the driver.

Later last week, family members grieving at home expressed despondence at the way Seth was taken from them.

"I’m not outraged by the president," Richard said. "I’m hurt. I’m bleeding. I lost a son, and no parent can be happy about that. I’m not outraged, but I’m very, very upset [because] I think the president misled the country, and I truly believe that [since the war in Iraq began] 528 soldiers lost their lives, and thousands were injured unnecessarily, because I feel we’re on a vendetta."

Richard noted that no weapons of mass destruction or biological weapons, used by the president as a justification for the war, have been found.

"And because of that, I feel sorrow for my son, but I also grieve for the families going through what I’m going through," he said, at times breaking into tears.

Richard said that at first he supported the war because he believed Bush’s claims that Iraq possessed such weapons.

Seth’s sister, Rebekah, 27, said she has been steadfastly opposed to the war. She feels it is a personal vendetta because Saddam Hussein attempted to have the president’s father killed.

"My brother is my best friend, and he means the world to me," she said, holding back tears. "He was the best brother anyone could ever ask for, and he will be sadly and deeply missed, but he will live in my heart forever."

In August, Seth married his college sweetheart, Kelly Harris Dvorin, 24, five days before he left for Iraq. The couple lived in Watertown, N.Y., near Fort Drum, where Dvorin’s 10th Mountain Division, part of the 62nd Air Defense Regiment, was based. His wife did not wish to speak publicly about the tragedy.

Seth’s mother, Sue Niederer, lives with her husband, Greg, in Pennington, Mercer County.

Seth was born in Freehold but raised in both East Brunswick and South Brunswick. He graduated in 1998 from South Brunswick High School, where he played football and baseball. In 2002, he received a bachelor of science degree in administrative justice from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, where he was a member of the Delta Chi fraternity.

Seth joined the Army after graduation and received basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C.

His family described him as someone who loved to travel extensively, including to Europe and Israel. He loved animals and cars, particularly Mustangs, and was a great cook.

"Seth will always be remembered as a loyal friend, a hard worker, a trusted leader of his men, a loving husband, and a man who cherished his family," according to his obituary. "He brought a ray of sunshine and joy into the lives of all who knew him."

Both of Seth’s parents have written to Bush to express their loss and voice their feelings on the effort in Iraq.

"In the beginning I felt it was a necessary evil, because I truly believed there were weapons of mass destruction," Richard said. "But the further we got into the war, the less I believed. We didn’t have a plan for occupation, for rebuilding, or policing Iraq. I saw more and more rising incidents of suicide bombings and attacks on U.S. troops."

Since the capture of Hussein, Richard said, there have been more attacks on American troops and allies.

The last time the family saw Seth was on Jan. 17, the last day of a two-week period of rest that Seth enjoyed at home after four months in Iraq. In fact, Rebekah spent the day at the airport with him because his flight kept getting delayed.

"I thank God I had the time I did with him," his sister said.

Richard said he last received an e-mail from Seth around Feb. 1 or 2.

Seth was buried at the Marlboro Cemetery in Monmouth County last week, one week after an Army colonel and chaplain from Fort Monmouth visited the family to break the news of Seth’s death. Interment was accompanied by full military honors following funeral services at the East Brunswick Jewish Center, Ryders Lane.

East Brunswick Mayor William Neary, members of the Township Council, U.S. Congressman Rush Holt and several other dignitaries were among the many who attended last week’s funeral.

"It’s so sad," Neary said. "He appeared to be a very dynamic young man and was a leader for his platoon."

Rebekah said the family believes Seth was planning to spend his career with the military — he graduated from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga., received his commission in January 2003, and also graduated Airborne and Air Defense Artillery schools — though Richard said his son realized the dangers of serving.

When asked to relate a story about Seth, Richard wished instead to make some comments about his son’s character.

"Seth was the type of boy that any parent hopes to have," he said. "He was kind and courteous, and thoughtful and respectful. He had the ability to adapt to any situation he was in, and saw the best in everyone."

Richard, whose house has a flag hanging by the front door that states: "Support Our Troops, Come Home Soon," said he is hoping others will join him in reaching out to the president, to convince him to bring the troops home "as an honor to the fallen soldiers."

The family requested that those wishing to help the family may make a contribution to a memorial scholarship fund that has been established for the benefit of South Brunswick and Hopewell Valley high school students. Contributions may be sent to the Seth Dvorin Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Hopewell Valley Community Bank, 4 Route 31, Pennington, NJ 08534.