Spc. Segun Akintade, NYC College of Technology

August 15, 2006 | Our Fallen Heroes

Born: December 24, 1969 in Lagos, Nigeria
Died: October 28, 2004 in Mushada, Iraq

Specialist Segun Frederick Akintade was a student of New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn. After achieving an Associates Degree, he continued to pursue a Bachelors Degree in computer science. He was dedicated to supporting his extended family back home in Lagos.

Akintade had come to America in 1997. He took a job at Bear Stearns. In order to help fund his education, and because of pride in his country, he joined the New York Army National Guard. Shortly before September 11, 2001, at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, Segun Akintade raised his right hand and swore in, enlisting into an infantry company based in Manhattan.

Upon enlistment he received basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia, and then returned to New York and continued training with his unit at area basesd, during the weekends. Like many of New York’s National Guard members, he spent some time helping to secure local transportation facilities as part of the Global War on Terror.

In the spring of 2003, Akintade took another oath, that of a US citizen. A few months later, in July, he learned that he would be deploying to Iraq in early 2004. He was mobilized to active duty in October of 2003 and deployed to Iraq on March 12, 2004.

Segun went by many names. Some called him Fred, some Segun, but in the Army he was known as Obi-Wan or just Obi. He maintained a positive attitude throughout the entire deployment. Whether freezing in the Fort Drum winter of upstate NY, or sweltering in the desert heat of Iraq in August, his platoon mates could always count on Akintade to be smiling.

Obi-Wan was an excellent soldier, an expert with his assigned machine gun, the 240B. And he was in incredible physical condition, especially for a man in his thirties. He routinely aced the Army’s physical fitness test. He loved athletics, and any kind of games, including video games. But he was still struggling to master the rules and rhythm of American Football.

Akintade had a deep empathy for the Iraqi people he dealt with. Perhaps because he had grown up in Nigeria, he could better relate to the frustrations of the impoverished and the oppressed. He understood their desire for dignity and freedom.

On October 28, of 2004, while returning from a routine patrol to the desert area west of the city of Dujail in Iraq, Frederick Segun Akintade was killed. His platoon patrol was moving east on Route Boa when insurgents initiated a complex ambush combining an IED (roadside bomb) and automatic weapons fire. Akintade was occupying his usual position in the machine gun turret of his squad’s humvee. The IED, a 155mm artillery shell went off without warning, and killed Akintade, who was exposed in the turret. He was thirty four years old.

Two soldiers Spc. John O’Brien and Spc. Yanko Perez, both with significant first aid skills, worked furiously under enemy machine gun fire to save Akintade’s life. In the end, the wound was too grave. The Army, the city, and the university, have lost a great man.