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A memorial service was held Tuesday in Giessen, Germany, for three U.S. Army engineers killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb on Veterans Day.

The loss of Staff Sgt. Misael Martinez, Staff Sgt. William Jackson and Sgt. Angel De Jesus Lucio-Ramirez represent the first combat deaths in Iraq for the 16th Engineer Battalion, based in Giessen.

The soldiers were on a security escort mission in Ramadi when the attack occurred.

“All three of these fine NCOs were out in front, where the action is, clearing the way for their infantry and armor brethren,” Capt. David Dake, the battalion’s rear detachment commander, said at Tuesday’s memorial service, based on a copy of his speech.

“There is no doubt in my mind,” Dake continued, “that these men loved what they were doing up to the very instant that they gave their lives.”

Martinez, Jackson and Lucio-Ramirez died Nov. 11 when the vehicle they were riding in crossed paths with a bomb. All three were combat veterans prior to this deployment.

At Tuesday’s service in Giessen, the three 1st Armored Division soldiers were remembered collectively, and individually. Chaplain (Maj.) Thomas Cox, who also addressed the gathering, said the three “are now listed on that hallowed roster” of Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, based on a copy of his speech.

Martinez was on his third tour to Iraq. Before deploying in late summer, the 24-year-old served in the rear detachment office as a family readiness liaison for Company B.

Quoting from a note from one of Martinez’s closest friends, Dake said the North Carolina native lived a life without fear.

“This is not to say he did not know fear,” Dake said, “but rather he used his fear as fuel to help him overcome anything he faced.”

Jackson, 29, served a seven-month tour in Afghanistan as a Marine in 2002.

After a break in service, he joined the Army and deployed to Iraq with the engineer battalion in January.

“Jack was the kind of NCO (noncommissioned officer) that everyone listened to and respected,” said Dake, again, quoting from a colleague.

“Any hour of the day or night he was available to answer questions, ranging from machine gun malfunctions to college admissions and political issues.”

Jackson, who is from Michigan, is survived by his wife, three sons and an infant daughter, who was born while he was home on leave.

Of the three, Lucio-Ramirez is the only one that served with the battalion during its first tour to Iraq from May 2003 to July 2004.

Between deployments, he went from being a private to a sergeant and mentor to young troops.

The 22-year-old from California married his sweetheart while on leave in April.

Dake referred to Lucio- Ramirez as “a leader of soldiers,” for which, he added, “there is no greater honor.”

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