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Mideast edition, Friday, July 27, 2007

The U.S. military community at Caserma Ederle, Italy, will mourn five 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team soldiers Friday who were killed this week in Afghanistan.

Four soldiers were killed Monday when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb. Their identities were released Wednesday by the Department of Defense.

A fifth soldier in the vehicle, Pfc. Mathew Taylor from Cameron Park, Calif., is receiving care at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas after getting treatment at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

The four soldiers, all members of the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment based in Vicenza, were identified as:

1st Sgt. Michael S. Curry, 37, from Dania Beach, Fla.

Pfc. Adam J. Davis, 19, from Twin Falls, Idaho.

Sgt. Travon T. Johnson, 29, from Palmdale, Calif.

Pfc. Jessy S. Rogers, 20, from Copper Center, Alaska.

They will be honored in a 4 p.m. service at the base chapel along with Pfc. Juan S. Restrepo, who died in a separate incident on Sunday.

Online reports from various media outlets quoted friends and family members of Curry, Davis and Johnson.

Curry leaves behind his wife, Lucia, and two sons — Taylor, 12, and Kevin, 9 — according to a report by the Miami Herald, which quoted his sisters in Florida.

“Our brother was our hero,” Keisha Robinson, the oldest of Curry’s three sisters, told the newspaper. “He paid the ultimate sacrifice with his life. He will be truly missed.”

Davis was killed just days before his 20th birthday, according to a report by the Times-News of Twin Falls. His older brother, T.J., is also in the Army and stationed in Texas.

“Adam is there by choice,” his uncle, Randy Davis, was quoted as saying. “I think he wanted to do something with his life. He’s still young and wasn’t thinking of college or anything.”

Johnson leaves behind a wife and two children from previous relationships, according to the Daily Bulletin of Ontario, Calif. The report said Johnson had been wounded in an earlier deployment and refused opportunities for promotion so he could stay with his unit.

“He wanted to stick by his troops,” said James Ward, described by the paper as a family friend and former Marine. “He believed it was essential to train them himself and make sure they survive.”

Nine members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team have died in the three months the unit has been deployed to Afghanistan.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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