European edition, Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Three Schweinfurt, Germany-based soldiers have died in the streets of Baghdad.

Sgt. Bacilio E. Cuellar, 24, of Odessa, Texas; Spc. James E. Lundin, 20, of Bellport, N.Y.; and Pfc. Joshua M. Moore, 20, of Russellville, Ky., were killed Wednesday when their vehicle struck an explosive.

All were members of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment “Vanguards,” part of the 2nd “Dagger” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.

Cuellar leaves behind a wife, Nicole, three young sons, and his parents, Lori and Rafael Jr. His hometown newspaper, the Odessa American, reported that he was a 2000 graduate of Permian High School and member of the drum line there.

“We were all just in shock even though we knew it could possibly happen to him,” Rafael Cuellar told the American. “I just went blank. My baby’s gone. He’s my only son.”

Cuellar, commonly called “Bozzy,” had recently talked with his mother about leaving the military when his current tour was over, but Lori Cuellar told the American that her son had decided to stay and turn his service into a career.

Rick Lundin told that his son joined the Army six months before he turned 18, thinking mothers and fathers shouldn’t be the ones fighting. “He said, ‘it should be young guys like me who go.’”

Lundin’s wife, Kristy, whom he married via proxy in January, told Newsday that they’d scheduled a formal wedding in November, having postponed previous plans when Dagger Brigade was extended.

A graduate of Bellport middle and high schools, Lundin, an only child, enjoyed drawing, skating and snowboarding, his father said.

Moore’s father, Jeff, told The Associated Press that his son believed in what he was doing. “He honestly felt like they were doing good.”

After graduating from Logan County High School in 2005, Moore enlisted in the Army, and, after training, was stationed in Germany. Jeff Moore also told the AP that when his son took mid-tour leave, he spent time visiting children at a local elementary school. His visit was also the first time he’d seen his family in more than a year.

A spokesperson for the Schweinfurt public affairs office said that a memorial service for the three has not yet been scheduled, but announced that a memorial for another Vanguard soldier, Spc. Clinton Coy Blodgett, killed May 26, and another Dagger soldier, Staff Sgt. Virgil Chance Martinez, of 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, who died May 6, will be held Monday, at 1 p.m., at the Ledward Barracks chapel.

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