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Two Europe-based soldiers in different units of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team have died from wounds sustained in Afghanistan.

Both soldiers died this week while trying to recover at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Pfc. Christopher Pfeifer, 21, of Spalding, Neb., died Tuesday from wounds he sustained Aug. 17 when his unit came under small-arms fire near Kamu, Afghanistan, according to a Pentagon press release identifying him.

The Germany-based soldier died two days before his daughter, Peyton, was born, said Maj. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman with Southern European Task Force (Airborne).

Pfeifer was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, out of Schweinfurt.

On Wednesday, Pfc. Mathew Taylor, 21, of Cameron Park, Calif., died from wounds sustained when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle July 23 in the Sarobi District, the Pentagon also announced Friday.

Taylor was assigned to the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.

Taylor joined the Army to honor his late father, an Army veteran who died in a car accident in 2003, the year before Taylor graduated from Ponderosa High School, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee.

Soldiers with the 173rd already were mourning the death of a popular soldier killed Sunday in Afghanistan. Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Blaskowski, with the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Vicenza, received the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his actions and an injury received in May 2005 in the Arghandab River Valley of Afghanistan.

A memorial service for Blaskowski, which tentatively was set for Monday, now is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 10 at the base community chapel. It will be held in conjunction with a service for Taylor, Dillon said.

Pfeifer’s memorial service has not been set, as officials are working to coordinate that with his family.


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