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A Friedberg, Germany-based 1st Armored Division soldier killed in Iraq is being remembered by friends and family as an “incredible” young man who found a “surrogate family” with his high school’s ROTC program.

Pfc. Jeremy W. Ehle, 19, was killed Sunday when his patrol came under fire near the western city of Hit, the Pentagon said. Ehle was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.

Ehle had only been in Iraq for about a month, officials said.

According to news reports from his hometown, Ehle grew up in a Richmond, Va., boy’s home. Ehle joined the Army in January 2005, and Germany was his first duty assignment. He joined the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry just after Christmas.

“He was incredible, and we loved him very much,” Regina Tarr, whose children were in the same junior ROTC program as Ehle at John Randolph Tucker High School, told The Washington Post.

“He loved it. All the kids grew attached to each other,” Staff Sgt. Jamal Ghammashi, his Army recruiter, told the Post. “During lunches they all sat in the ROTC room. They had a very tightknit group. Due to his upbringing — or lack of it — that drew him to it. He enjoyed having that close of friends.”

A memorial will be held Friday, at 2:30 p.m., in the Ray Barracks chapel, 1st AD officials said. The service will not be open to the media, officials said.

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