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Soldiers give a final salute to Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood at the Benjamin Franklin Village chapel in Mannheim, Germany, on Thursday. Trueblood, with the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, was killed in Afghanistan on March 10.

Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes
Soldiers give a final salute to Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood at the Benjamin Franklin Village chapel in Mannheim, Germany, on Thursday. Trueblood, with the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, was killed in Afghanistan on March 10. Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Soldiers give a final salute to Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood at the Benjamin Franklin Village chapel in Mannheim, Germany, on Thursday. Trueblood, with the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, was killed in Afghanistan on March 10.

Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes
Soldiers give a final salute to Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood at the Benjamin Franklin Village chapel in Mannheim, Germany, on Thursday. Trueblood, with the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, was killed in Afghanistan on March 10. Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Long after the memorial ceremony for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood was over, a pair of mourners console each other as they gaze at a photo of the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company soldier who was killed in Afghanistan on Mar. 10.
Long after the memorial ceremony for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood was over, a pair of mourners console each other as they gaze at a photo of the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company soldier who was killed in Afghanistan on Mar. 10. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Mourners sign a condolence book for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood before the beginning of the memorial ceremony for the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company soldier was killed in Afghanistan on March 10.
Mourners sign a condolence book for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood before the beginning of the memorial ceremony for the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company soldier was killed in Afghanistan on March 10. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
At a memorial ceremony in Mannheim, Germany, Spc. Kyle Holly talks about his friend Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood who was killed in Afghanistan on March 10.
At a memorial ceremony in Mannheim, Germany, Spc. Kyle Holly talks about his friend Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood who was killed in Afghanistan on March 10. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Soldiers hold programs for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood's memorial service as they listen to tributes to the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company soldier was killed in Afghanistan on March 10.
Soldiers hold programs for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood's memorial service as they listen to tributes to the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company soldier was killed in Afghanistan on March 10. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Bugler Spc. Mason Maberry and the firing detail wait for their cue during the memorial ceremony for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood. The 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company soldier was killed in Afghanistan on March 10.
Bugler Spc. Mason Maberry and the firing detail wait for their cue during the memorial ceremony for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood. The 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company soldier was killed in Afghanistan on March 10. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A soldier serving as an usher stands at the rear of the Benjamin Franklin Village chapel in Mannheim, Germany, during the memorial ceremony for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood.
A soldier serving as an usher stands at the rear of the Benjamin Franklin Village chapel in Mannheim, Germany, during the memorial ceremony for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
After the firing of volleys, for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood, the firing detail stands at attention while Spc. Mason Maberry plays taps. Trueblood, with the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, was killed in Afghanistan on March 10.
After the firing of volleys, for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood, the firing detail stands at attention while Spc. Mason Maberry plays taps. Trueblood, with the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, was killed in Afghanistan on March 10. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Sgt. Gregory Reid of the firing detail salutes during the playing of taps at the memorial ceremony for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood of 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, who was killed in Afghanistan on March 10.
Sgt. Gregory Reid of the firing detail salutes during the playing of taps at the memorial ceremony for Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood of 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, who was killed in Afghanistan on March 10. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Fellow EOD soldiers give a final salute to Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood at the close of his memorial ceremony at the Benjamin Franklin Village chapel in Mannheim, Germany, on Thursday. Trueblood, with the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, was killed in Afghanistan on March 10.
Fellow EOD soldiers give a final salute to Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood at the close of his memorial ceremony at the Benjamin Franklin Village chapel in Mannheim, Germany, on Thursday. Trueblood, with the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, was killed in Afghanistan on March 10. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

MANNHEIM, Germany — A month ago, the Mannheim military community gave an explosive ordnance disposal company a hearty farewell as it departed for Afghanistan.

On Thursday, members of the community reconvened to remember one of the 44 soldiers who departed a few weeks back, a staff sergeant who died last week in Kandahar Province while conducting a post-blast analysis. It’s a common ploy used by insurgents: detonate one bomb and explode a second when soldiers arrive to deal with the first.

Army Staff Sgt. Eric S. Trueblood, 27, of Alameda, Calif., was a savvy, capable EOD technician known for being a quick study and a trusted mentor, according to friends, colleagues in the bomb business and people who drive the roads that Trueblood helped clear.

“He was a good guy, one of a kind, first class,” Spc. Graham Burnsed of the 515th Transportation Company in Mannheim said as he stood outside of Benjamin Franklin Village chapel.

During the service, Staff Sgt. Gabriel Burkman, the rear detachment commander of 720th EOD Company, characterized Trueblood as being an honest man who worked hard and kept things positive, be it with humor or encouragement.

He said Trueblood embodied the finest traits of the trade.

“An EOD tech must be a loner at heart,” Burkman said during the memorial service for Trueblood, “willing to don the suit and take a lonely walk from which they may not come back from.”

Trueblood, an eight-year veteran of the Army, became an EOD technician in 2008, graduating first in his class, according to the Army. When he died in combat, he was on his second tour to Afghanistan, first as a bomb specialist.

“Eric was always there when you needed someone,” said Spc. Kyle Holly, a member of the company, nicknamed the “Juggernauts.” “He was always there when the unit needed someone. He was a person of action.”

The service was attended by about 300 people, mostly soldiers. Also in attendance were wives of soldiers in the company, wearing black and dabbing their eyes with tissues. Several Air Force bomb specialists drove to the service from nearby Ramstein Air Base, including one airman who was passing through en route to the United States.

“We were in the area. We wouldn’t miss it,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Robert Hodges of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Hodges was on temporary duty and leaving Afghanistan the day Trueblood was killed. “The EOD is such a close-knit community. We are here to support our brothers.”

doughertyk@estripes.osd.mil

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