Here are previous Inquirer stories about Alpha Company, which lost seven of its soldiers in bombings in Iraq in 2005.
Pa. National Guard unit gets ready for Iraq duty
Nov. 21, 2004
Leaving home for Iraq tomorrow, the soldiers of Alpha Company have been packing away their personal lives as they pack their duffel bags. The infantry unit from Northeast Philadelphia is part of a 750-member task force of the Pennsylvania National Guard that will join 1,300 other Pennsylvania Guard troops already in Iraq. Not since World War II has the state had so many guardsmen in a combat zone.
2 Pa. guardsmen killed in Iraq
Aug. 9, 2005
Two Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers from the Philadelphia region were killed Saturday in Iraq when their armored humvee was rocked by a road-bomb blast, careened into a ditch, and flipped over, the Guard said yesterday.
Stronger bomb doomed 2 in Iraq
Aug. 10, 2005
The bomb that killed two Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers Saturday was of a type used with increasing frequency by insurgents to try to penetrate the extra-armor kits that have been recently put on most U.S. vehicles in Iraq.
The War Hits Home
Pa. units lose seven soldiers in four days.
Aug. 11, 2005
Five Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers were killed in two insurgent attacks Tuesday in Iraq, including four members of a small unit based in Northeast Philadelphia that lost two soldiers on Saturday.
Bomb was hidden beneath road
Aug. 12, 2005
The bomb that killed four Philadelphia-area National Guard soldiers on Tuesday in Iraq was hidden in a culvert and exploded with such force that it ripped apart their armored humvee and left a huge crater in the road, officials said yesterday.
Guard unit's families wait and worry
Aug. 14, 2005
Spec. Tony Khouli has been wounded twice since being deployed to Iraq. So when his family heard that six members of his Philadelphia National Guard unit and another Pennsylvania Guard trooper had been killed in recent days, they grew more afraid for Khouli's safety.
After 6 deaths, Pa. unit is soldiering on in Iraq
Sept. 27, 2005
The site along Smuggler's Road where a massive bomb killed four Philadelphia-area National Guard soldiers Aug. 9 still bears the scars of that terrible incident. So do the men of Alpha Company.
Pa. Guard units return home to crowds, heavenly scents
Oct. 28, 2005
It wasn't only the green, green grass of home that was so welcoming. It was also the crisp fall air at Fort Dix, which smelled so sweet compared with the pervasive dust and oil fumes of Iraq.
A Guard unit struggles to get over its heavy losses.
Jan. 23, 2006
They still lose sleep, still get antsy in a crowd, still flip out occasionally and bark at the next guy in line at Wal-Mart.
Three months after returning from Iraq, where six of their comrades were killed, several men from a hard-hit National Guard company based in Northeast Philadelphia say that, mostly, they are doing all right in adjusting to civilian life.
Pa. soldiers now fight for medals won in Iraq
March 16, 2006
Five months after returning home from Iraq, many Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers are upset at still not having received the medals they earned in combat.
Elite brigade is his to rev up
Lt. Col. Marc Ferraro leads the Guard's only Stryker unit, which is based in Pa.
Aug. 1, 2007
Lt. Col. Marc Ferraro was 6,000 miles from Iraq when six national guardsmen from Pennsylvania were killed by bomb blasts during a four-day period in August 2005. It fell to him, as commander of their home battalion, to notify most of the soldiers' families.