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Three Germany-based soldiers killed last week in Iraq were identified by the Department of Defense on Monday.

Spc. Alan E. McPeek, 20, of Tucson, Ariz., a member of the 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division in Giessen, was killed Friday by small-arms fire in Ramadi.

Sgt. Corey J. Aultz, 31, of Port Orchard, Wash., and Sgt. Milton A. Gist Jr. of St. Louis — members of the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in Schweinfurt — were killed Jan. 30 in Ramadi when a makeshift bomb detonated near their vehicle during combat operations.

McPeek’s father, Kevin Doyle, told NBC television affiliate KVOA in Tucson that his son was on his last day in Iraq when he was killed.

“We’re just kind of stunned by this whole thing,” Doyle told Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star newspaper.

McPeek’s unit was originally scheduled to return from Iraq in either December or January, but in September it was announced his brigade would have its Iraq tour extended by 45 days.

McPeek, a combat engineer, was training his replacement when both were hit by enemy small-arms fire. The other soldier, Pvt. Matthew T. Zeimer, 18, of Glendive, Mont., was also killed. Zeimer was a member of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Stewart, Ga.

Doyle told the Arizona Daily Star that McPeek enlisted at age 17 because “he decided he didn’t like what was going on over there and he wanted to make a difference.”

The paper reported that McPeek’s family said it was hard for the soldier to think he had made a difference because he’d spent most of his time near Ramadi in an outpost that had once been used as an insurgent hide-out.

“He was in a very dangerous place,” Doyle said. “He didn’t see a lot of good happening there. He saw a lot of bad things going on.”

A memorial service for McPeek will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Giessen Chapel in the Marshall Housing area.

A 1998 graduate of St. Louis’ Roosevelt High School, Gist, 27, was remembered by one of his coaches as a good student and athlete, NBC station KSDK reported.

Roy Ford, who coached Gist in football, wrestling and track, said that after high school, Gist started attending college but decided that the Army was a better personal career path.

“I tried to get him to stay in school but he said he was going into the military, so that was it,” Ford said.

Gist is survived by his wife, Raheisha, of Topeka, Kan., a daughter, 4, and son, 1.

Further information on Aultz was unavailable at the time of this report.

Aultz and Gist are the 19th and 20th deaths the “Dagger Brigade” has suffered since deploying to Iraq in August.

A memorial service for the 1-77 soldiers has been tentatively scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Ledward Barracks Chapel in Schweinfurt, said Capt. Tom McMurtrie, 1-77’s rear detachment commander.


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