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A 1st Armored Division soldier killed last week in Iraq was identified Sunday by the Pentagon as Staff Sgt. Kevin M. Witte.

Witte, 27, was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, based in Baumholder, Germany. He died Friday in Baghdad after a makeshift bomb detonated near his vehicle during a combat patrol.

His wife and son live in Germany, according to news reports in the U.S.

Witte grew up in Beardsley, Minn., a town of about 250 people near the South Dakota border. People there are having a hard time accepting his death, his aunt, Mary Sykora, said in an article in the St. Paul, Minn., Pioneer Press newspaper.

“Nobody can believe it,” Sykora was quoted as saying. “Everyone feels their pain.”

Sykora, who is also the town’s mayor, had seen Witte earlier this year when he returned home for the funeral of his father, Marvin Witte, she said.

“Kevin was a good kid, and he was very proud of what he did,” she was quoted as saying.

Other relatives said they were too distraught to speak publicly about Witte or his death, saying only that he was a good soldier, according to The Associated Press.

At least 42 1st Armored Division soldiers have died in Iraq this year.

Information about a memorial ceremony for Witte was not available Monday.

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