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The Pentagon confirmed the deaths in Iraq of two soldiers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division in Baumholder, Germany.

Staff Sgt. Darrell P. Clay, 34, of Fayetteville, N.C., and Sgt. Israel Devora Garcia, 23, of Clint, Texas, were killed in Baghdad on April 1 when a makeshift bomb detonated while they were on a foot patrol, officials said.

Stationed in Germany for five years, Clay had been a full-time soldier since the early 1990s. His father, David Clay, also from Fayetteville, said his son had been in Iraq for about a month. Clay is survived by a wife and three children.

Clay’s father added that this was his son’s third deployment to Iraq and that he came from a military family.

“I did 24 years in the Army, I got a son who’s got 25 years in and a daughter with about eight or nine years in,” David Clay told The Associated Press. “I don’t worry about things. If your time comes, you’re going.”

Devora Garcia graduated in 2001 from Clint High School, where he was a member of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, according to the El Paso (Texas) Times.

Devora Garcia was on his second Iraq deployment. His family was notified over the weekend of his death but could not be reached for comment, according to the newspaper.

Family friends have described Devora Garcia as a respectful, energetic boy who grew into a responsible young man who took his commitments seriously, the Times said.

A memorial service has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. April 10 at Smith Barracks’ Wagon Wheel Theater in Baumholder.

The 2nd Battalion was called up last month from Kuwait as part of the Pentagon’s “ready reserve” force. The 2nd Brigade had been part of what the Pentagon said was the initial drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq.

Military officials initially said the unit would be in Iraq for a few weeks after their call-up but later said they would stay for a longer, indefinite time period.


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