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A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Vilseck Chapel on Rose Barracks for a Vilseck, Germany-based soldier who died Wednesday in Mosul, Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Lewis J. Gentry, 48, of Headquarters and Support Company, 94th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), died from a heart attack while exercising, according to Capt. Therese Kelley, the battalion’s rear detachment commander.

Kelley said Gentry was the first soldier from the battalion to die since its January deployment.

Gentry, of Detroit, was in his second deployment to the war in Iraq. He had served in Saudi Arabia in 1990 during the first Gulf War. He enlisted in 1986 and was a heavy-wheeled vehicle driver and trainer. His current job was as the battalion’s driver-training noncommissioned officer and his company’s section sergeant for heavy-wheeled vehicle operators. Among the awards Gentry earned was a bronze star that he will be presented posthumously.

Gentry is survived by two daughters, Shanna Dubose and Jessica Andrews, and other family members, mainly from Detroit.

Vianne Gentry, Lewis Gentry’s older sister, told the Detroit Free Press: “He was a really good guy.”

The 94th Engineers were originally sent to improve forward operating bases in northwest Iraq, officials have said, but most of the missions in their first seven months have been outside the wire.

The battalion, along with the 535th Engineer Company (Combat Special Equipment), deployed in January from Vilseck, Grafenwöhr and Hohenfels, Germany. Since then, it has been creating outposts and improving the outlying areas near Forward Operating Base Marez in the city of Mosul.


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