Mideast edition, Thursday, June 21, 2007

SCHWEINFURT, Germany — Sgt. Bacilio E. Cuellar, Cpl. James E. Lundin and Cpl. Joshua M. Moore didn’t approach life the same way.

But the three soldiers, members of Company C, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, are tied together in death.

The three men, killed May 30 when the vehicle they were in struck a makeshift bomb in Baghdad’s Rishala neighborhood, were honored for their service and sacrifice Wednesday during a memorial ceremony at Ledward Barracks chapel in Schweinfurt, Germany.

Symbols of their passing — three setsof empty boots, Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts, rifles and other effects — sat at the chapel’s front as the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division community gathered to remember the soldiers.

Cuellar, 24, hailed from Odessa, Texas; Lundin, 20, was from Bellport, N.Y., and Moore, 20, came from Russellville, Ky.

Reading remarks made by Spc. Richard Albertson during a memorial ceremony in Baghdad, Pfc. Stanley A. Via, one of Moore’s former comrades, recounted how Moore, the communications guru for the company, wasn’t happy about having to wake up at 2 a.m. to connect an antenna to a radio. But, “if there was ever a commo problem, he would fix it,” according to Albertson.

Earlier in the deployment, Moore routinely went out on missions with a different crew than the one he died with. His old crew included Albertson and two other Company C soldiers, who made a tradition of rolling out the gate listening to music from pop diva Kelly Clarkson, followed by the hard rock of Element Eighty.

Lundin, who joined the Army two years and a day before his death, had the uncanny ability to make you laugh so hard that you would cry, make you so frustrated that you wanted to pull your hair out and make you so angry that you wanted to explode, Staff Sgt. David N. Rothe, Lundin’s supervisor, said during the memorial ceremony in Baghdad.

But most of all, Rothe said, Lundin had an ability to “show warmness and openness that made him endearing to so many people.”

Rothe’s remarks were read at the ceremony Wednesday by Pfc. Kade M. Levy, one of Lundin’s former pals.

Rothe was often torn between discipline and laughter when it came to dealing with Lundin, who married while on rest and recuperation leave. There were a number of humorous incidents, according to Rothe.

“However,” Rothe said, “I think the fact that at any given time he had over 20 ashtrays in his room had to set some kind of record.”

Rothe wanted him to clean up the mess, but Lundin explained that he wanted to be able to turn in any direction and have an ashtray available.

Cuellar was known among the units’ soldiers for his maturity. Among his friends, he was known for his devotion to his family.

“There wasn’t a conversation that we ever had that he didn’t reference some time he was with [his wife] Nichole or the kids,” Sgt. Joshua Szlachciuk said in the Baghdad ceremony. His comments were read Wednesday by Staff Sgt. Luis A. Castro.

Reading from comments made by Capt. Dave Diaz, Company C commander, in the Baghdad memorial, Staff Sgt. Larry M. Dishaw said the three men “were all fantastic examples of up-and-coming soldiers. They knew the risks inherent in their work and they went about it diligently and unafraid.”

Lt. Col. George Glaze, commander of 1-18 Infantry, spoke with Moore’s father, Jeff Moore, after the soldiers were killed.

Jeff Moore asked Glaze to pass on to the rest of the unit the same advice he’d always given to his son during phone calls from Iraq: “Stay sharp.”

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