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Courageous acts mark fallen soldiers' lives

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Posted: Friday, September 22, 2006 12:00 pm | Updated: 3:17 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Emily Baker

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD – The hallmark of Sgt. Jeremy E. King's character – a selflessness unusual even for soldier who chose a life of service – likely is what put him in the position to give his life for his nation, his friend and former leader recalled Thursday.

King set an example long before he was supposed to, said Staff Sgt. Richard Lovell, King's former squad leader.

Before King became a noncommissioned officer, charged with mentoring junior-ranked soldiers, he always looked out for others, Lovell said through tears as he shared his memories at a 4th Infantry Division service honoring 15 soldiers killed in Iraq.

The two met when King, a private at the time, moved to Fort Hood in 2002. Even then, King was such a model soldier that he taught his leaders.

"He would be an example for other soldiers to follow, including me," Lovell said.

The lesson in selflessness King taught when a gunshot wound killed him Aug. 24 in Baghdad is one that does not surprise Lovell. After all, that was the thing about King; he always volunteered for patrols "in the enemy's backyard" so his friends and leaders would not be exposed to danger.

King, 23, gave his life so others would not have to. He served with the 4th Infantry's Charlie Troop, 8th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.

Also honored Thursday at the service held at the division's memorial chapel were 13 soldiers from the 4th Infantry and a Harker Heights native who served with the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division.

Spc. Brian J. Kubik, 20, graduated from Harker Heights High School in 2004. He served with the 101st Airborne's 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. His unit was organized under Multinational Division-Baghdad, which is led by the 4th Infantry's commander, Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman.

Kubik was known for his bravery. Like King and many of the other soldiers honored Thursday, he also looked out for his buddies, said Capt. Rose Lyons.

"His willingness to put others before himself was his legacy here on Earth," Lyons said.

Others remembered for selflessness were Spc. Seth A. Hildreth, 26, of the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team; and Cpl. Joshua D. Jones, 24, and Staff Sgt. Kenneth A. Jenkins, 25, both of the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.

Hildreth volunteered for patrols and "was always friends with you no matter who you were," said Capt. Thomas Kyne.

Jones helped others work on their cars and told a soldier he could move in with him and his family when they returned from Iraq, until the soldier got settled and had saved enough money for his own place, said Sgt. 1st Class James Collins.

Jenkins took odd-hours duty for a single parent when he couldn't find a babysitter, said Sgt. 1st Class Mary Glaze. He loved going to the gym and wanted to go to drill sergeant school and begin a family when he returned from Iraq.

Like Jenkins, Sgt. Moises Jazmin, 25, had hopes of going to drill sergeant school, said Staff Sgt. Thomas Carlton. Jazmin, who served in the 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, also thought about becoming an Army recruiter. He hoped to help his mother, a native of the Dominican Republic, become an American citizen when he returned from Iraq.

Spc. Shaun A. Novak, 21, postponed accomplishing a goal to serve his country. He left college to join the Army and wanted to finish his degree in accounting or marketing someday. Novak, who served in the same unit as Jazmin, loved his car and enjoyed sports, video games and fishing on Lake Michigan.

Pfc. William E. Thorne, 26, also enjoyed sports and was a devoted Detroit Lions fan, Kyne said. Thorne, who served in the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, never lost hope that some day his team would make the Super Bowl. His fellow soldiers said they had never seen anyone as dedicated as Thorne.

Spc. James J. Arellano, 19, was another dedicated soldier, said Sgt. 1st Class Nicolas Augugliaro. He served in the 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Arellano enjoyed boxing, was knocked down during his first match and used that as motivation. He won every match after that.

Courage and discipline sum up the reputation of Staff Sgt. Michael C. Lloyd, 24, of the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, said Staff Sgt. William Anderson.

Lloyd's fellow 1st Squadron trooper Staff Sgt. Kevin L. Zeigler, 31, was a father figure to his soldiers and taught others how to be a good leader, Kyne said. Zeigler left behind a wife and four children.

Pfc. Nicholas A. Madaras, 19, of the Fort Carson, Colo.-based 1st Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, calmed his soldiers with his confident personality, said Capt. Nick Long.

Spc. Tristan C. Smith, 23, was a self-professed nerd, said the Rev. Grant Schnarr. Smith, who served in the 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, loved learning and music and frequently had three-day-long video game marathons with his friends. Smith became a volunteer firefighter at 16 and rescued three people from the top floor of a burning building on Christmas night in 2003.

A soldier who served in the same unit as Smith and died on the same day was continuing a family tradition with his military service. Spc. Qixing Lee, 20, is survived by a brother who is a Marine and a sister who is a soldier. He also left behind his parents, two other sisters and another brother. Lee was known for his "big muscles and even bigger heart," said Staff Sgt. Jesus Cerrillo.

Sgt. Luis A. Montes, 22, also was a family man. Montes, who served in the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, sent most of his paycheck home to Mexico to help his family, said Spc. Dean Young.

When Montes was injured Sept. 1 by a roadside bomb that exploded near his vehicle, he refused to get on the medevac helicopter until the other two soldiers injured with him had been tended to, Young said. Montes promised his lieutenant he would take care of the two soldiers who were taken to a combat support hospital with him.

He died six days later at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Contact Emily Baker at ebaker@kdhnews.com

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