Weather Forecast


Body of Spc. James Wertish of Olivia to arrive home Thursday; funeral Monday

OLIVIA -- The body of Spc. James Wertish will arrive at the Dirks-Blem Funeral Home in Olivia between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday.

Wertish, 20, of rural Olivia, was one of three Minnesotan soldiers killed in a missile attack near Basra, Iraq on the evening of July 16. They were all were all members of the 34th Military Police Company, 34th Infantry "Red Bulls" Division.

Wertish's body is scheduled to arrive at about 10:25 a.m. Thursday at the National Guard Base in St. Paul. The body will be met by family and a Military Honor Guard. They are expected to leave the base around 11:30 a.m.

The Patriot Guard Riders will escort Wertish's body from the National Guard base in St. Paul to Olivia along U.S. Hwy 212.

His funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Bird Island. Visitation is at the church from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday. The Dirks-Blem Funeral Home of Olivia is in charge of arrangements.

The other soldiers killed in the attack were Spc. Carlos E. Wilcox IV, 27, of Cottage Grove, and Spc. Daniel P. Drevnick, 22, of Woodbury. Spc. Jacob Benson, 22, of Willmar, sustained injuries in the attack.