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GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — A 172nd Infantry "Blackhawks" Brigade soldier who died of wounds sustained in a mine blast is the first member of the unit to be killed in action since the brigade deployed to Iraq late last year.

Spc. Israel Candelaria Mejias, 28, of San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, died of wounds sustained when a mine detonated near him during combat operations on Sunday, according to a Department of Defense press statement issued Wednesday.

Mejias was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment in Task Force 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, out of Grafenwöhr, Germany, the statement said.

Two other 172nd soldiers have died, in noncombat-related incidents, since the brigade commenced operations south of Baghdad in December, according to 172nd Rear Detachment commander Lt. Col. Eric Stetson.

Plans for a memorial for Mejias will be announced on Thursday, he said.

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