CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — The 2nd Infantry Division will pay tribute Wednesday to 2nd Brigade Combat Team soldiers killed in Iraq, holding a series of ceremonies at posts throughout Warrior Country.

2nd ID spokesman Maj. Mike Lawhorn said the ceremonies will recognize the 21 Strike Force soldiers who have died in Iraq since their deployment began in August. Eighteen of the deaths are from wounds received in combat.

The memorial ceremonies will allow soldiers, who usually cannot attend funerals in the United States, to say farewell to their comrades, he said.

“We often use phrases like ‘put our lives on the line’ or ‘make the ultimate sacrifice,’ but these soldiers did exactly that,” he said.

The largest ceremony is to be at Camp Red Cloud, with the division commander speaking. Individual units at other bases have organized several smaller ceremonies, Lawhorn said. Numerous 2nd ID units based in South Korea have sub-units or individuals serving in Iraq.

In a historic shift of forces from South Korea to an off-peninsula combat zone, 3,600 2nd Brigade soldiers were dispatched from their bases here. Instead of returning to South Korea, the 2nd Brigade will head to Fort Carson, Colo., when its tour is finished.

Most family members who were living in South Korea have since moved to their family homes or to stateside bases, officials have said.

Since late August, the 2nd Brigade has been operating in and around Ramadi, one of the centers of the insurgency that has roiled Iraq for months. The brigade falls under command of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, responsible for Al Anbar province west of Baghdad.

The 2nd Brigade assumed responsibility of the area from the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team. During its yearlong deployment, 1st Brigade sustained more than 500 casualties, including 50 fatalities.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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