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BAMBERG, Germany — When their platoon sergeant was killed in Iraq on Aug. 19, 1st Lt. David Lukefahr asked his soldiers to describe him.

The troops in the 54th Engineer Battalion’s Forward Support Company replied with the following: "Professional, motivator, teacher, intelligent, 21B Land, confident, caring, a great man, mentor, sociable, the best, excellence, ‘How you doing, killa?,’ tough love, determination to be successful, airborne, 100 percent winner, ‘Hey Gummi Bear, that’s a rhetorical question, take a lap,’ hot dog, guardian, the standard, center of calm, core of strength, strong-willed, overachiever, nothing less than perfect, gifted, charismatic, a genuine leader."

"These are just 29 words and phrases from his 29 soldiers that describe Sgt. 1st Class George Stanciel. These words speak for themselves," Lukefahr said during a memorial service on Aug. 22 at Camp Stryker, Iraq.

Community members gathered Thursday at the Warner Barracks chapel heard those and other words as they honored the 40-year-old father of five who died at Forward Operating Base Garry Owen, Iraq, after being struck by indirect mortar fire.

"He taught us how to complete our missions. He taught us how to analyze problems and he taught us the solutions to those problems. He taught us how to think. He taught us how to manage our time wisely. He taught us how to work with others. He taught us how to live. He even taught a young lieutenant that behind every good officer there is a far greater NCO," Lukefahr said.

Friends recalled Stanciel as loud, boisterous and rough-and-tumble, lauded his 18 years of Army engineer experience and marveled at his total dominance while playing dominoes. A memorial photo hangs even now in the unit’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation tent over the domino table.

Stanciel is survived by his wife, Shequita; sons Giovanni and Kortney; and daughters Mehri, Jamera and Jacoby.

Since the 54th left Bamberg for a 15-month deployment in May, the battalion has suffered two fatalities.

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