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Pvt. Evan A. Bixler
Pvt. Evan A. Bixler ()

A Germany-based soldier killed in Iraq on Sunday has been identified as Pvt. Evan A. Bixler, a member of the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment.

Bixler, a 21-year-old, Racine, Wis., native, died in Hit of wounds received from indirect enemy fire during security operations, according to the Defense Department.

His unit, part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, is based in Baumholder, Germany.

After graduating high school in 2003, Bixler was denied entry into the Army for medical reasons, family members told The Associated Press.

“Evan was devastated at the time,” his mother, Lisa Bixler, told The Journal Times of Racine.

Then, in June 2005, the high school friend he had hoped to enlist with was killed in Iraq, his mother said. In March, he told his parents he wanted to seek a medical waiver to enlist, according to the AP report.

“He said to us, ‘I don’t want to be 30 years old and have regrets,’ ” Lisa Bixler said. “He was reaching for his dreams. It was hard, but that’s the dream your child chooses to pursue. We supported him. We’re so proud of him.”

After getting denied entry again, he went to a recruiting office in another state and was allowed in, she said.

“The recruiter said to him, ‘You know, Evan, I’ve had people work this hard to get out of the Army; I’ve never known anyone work this hard to get into the Army,’ ” Lisa Bixler said.

Bixler enlisted in the Army in April, arrived in Baumholder in late August and deployed to Iraq in November, according to the Journal Sentinel newspaper in Milwaukee.

“He was a hero to his family prior to becoming a soldier and will remain a light and inspiration to those who knew him,” the family wrote in a statement to the Journal Sentinel.

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