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Hohenfels honors three soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Barbara Arizmendez, center, is comforted during a memorial service in Hohenfels on Wednesday for her husband, Staff Sgt. Marc A. Arizmendez, and two of his comrades - Spc. Roger Lee and Pfc. Michael S. Pridham - who were killed in action in Afghanistan earlier this month.

SETH ROBSON/STARS AND STRIPES

By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 21, 2010

HOHENFELS, Germany — Three 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment soldiers killed in southern Afghanistan this month were honored Wednesday by family, friends and comrades at Hohenfels.

Staff Sgt. Marc A. Arizmendez, 30, of Anaheim, Calif.; Spc. Roger Lee, 26, of Monterey, Calif.; and Pfc. Michael S. Pridham, 19, of Louisville, Ky., were killed by a roadside bomb that struck their vehicle July 6 during a patrol in Qalat, the capital of Zabul province.

The three were serving with 1-4’s Team Dragon, a company task force that deployed to Zabul earlier this year. During the ceremony at Hohenfels’ on-post theater, Arizmendez’ widow, Barbara, wept softly as members of his unit spoke of her late husband.

Sgt. Christopher Bockhol said Arizmendez, who also is survived by daughter Jennifer and son Justin, taught him to grind his snowboard on a box at the Grosser Arber ski area in Bavaria last winter.

“He loved to play his guitar and listen to rock music and heavy metal, or play with his kids and get into water and snowball fights,” Bockhol recalled.

In remarks read at the ceremony, Sgt. Travis Stockdale, a team leader serving with Team Dragon in Afghanistan, described Lee as 2nd Platoon’s “quiet professional” who proudly displayed his daughter Jazmyne’s artwork in his room and talked about his wife Elvina’s new job.

Stockdale said he spent hours trying to persuade Lee to make the Army his career but acknowledged that the young soldier had other options, such as taking over his family’s business or working in law enforcement.

Spc. Thomas Schmitt, another member of the unit whose remarks were read at the ceremony, said Pridham, his best friend, was known as a joker.

After he was injured in a vehicle roll-over, Pridham returned to work and said: “I’m still the driver. I win the races and I get the money,” Schmitt recalled. Pridham is survived by his wife Deidre Marie Spencer.

Lt. Col. Rafael Paredes, 1-4 commander, praised Company D soldiers and family members for showing strength in the face of the losses. By staying focused on their mission the unit can honor the memory of their fallen comrades, he said.

robsons@estripes.osd.mil

Barbara Arizmendez, right, pays her respects following a memorial service at Hohenfels on Wednesday for her husband, Staff Sgt. Marc A. Arizmendez, and two of his comrades - Spc. Roger Lee and Pfc. Michael S. Pridham - who were killed in action in Afghanistan earlier this month.
SETH ROBSON/STARS AND STRIPES