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To those who knew him, Rex G. Sprague III was one of those people you could always, always count on.

Friends and family members recall the former soldier as being dependable, calm and resourceful. And that was just the start.

“He always had a solution for things,” said Sgt. 1st Class Paul Bihler of Stuttgart, Germany. “He never got spun-up about stuff.”

On June 14, Iraqi insurgents shot and killed Sprague, 39, in an ambush near the city of Karbala in central Iraq. He was working as a contractor with Titan Corp. at the time.

Bihler, who knew Sprague for five years, said three other men in the vehicle escaped serious injury because Sprague, who was driving, had the presence of mind to keep his vehicle moving until it cleared the flash point.

Another occupant of the vehicle drove the rest of the way, but Sprague’s injuries were too severe, and he died shortly thereafter.

Friends and family members planned to gather Thursday for a 2 p.m. funeral service at the cemetery in Schanbach, a small village east of Stuttgart, where Sprague lived with his wife, Natascha.

Sprague retired from the Army in December after 20 years of service.

In January, he went to work for Titan, a San Diego company that provides information and communication products and services to the Defense Department and other government agencies. The company has a contract with the Army to provide linguist support in Iraq.

While on active duty, Sprague was assigned to the 95th Military Police Battalion and the 554th Military Police Company, Bihler said. He also saw duty in the Balkans.

In addition, Sprague, who went to high school in Brewer, Maine, was a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, according to the Bangor Daily News.

“He was always trying to do good,” Sprague’s sister Petra Lewis, 40, said in an interview with the paper. “He loved his country, I know that. He put other people before himself, but I guess that’s obvious.”

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