SCHWEINFURT, Germany — The 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment has lost two more soldiers.

Sgt. Shawn E. Dressler, 22, of Santa Maria, Calif., died Saturday when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb. Pfc. Joshua D. Brown, 26, of Tampa, Fla., died Sunday of similar injuries received the day before. Both were fighting in Baghdad.

The 1-18 “Vanguards” have lost 17 soldiers during their present deployment. Dressler and Brown are the 12th and 13th soldiers from the unit to die since April 1. The Vanguards’ higher headquarters, 2nd “Dagger” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, has lost 41.

Only one other unit — the 82nd Airborne Division’s 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment — has lost as many soldiers (13) in that time, based on a database query on, which tracks soldiers’ deaths downrange. Since April 1, 248 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq.

Because of the recent tour extensions, the brigade — which deployed in late summer 2006 — is due to return home in October, a total of 14 months for most of the 4,000-plus soldiers, according to the 2nd BCT’s Web site.

Although the Dagger troops will have spent more than 400 days in Iraq when they redeploy, many have been on deployment alert since November 2005. The unit’s original deployment date was delayed in spring 2006, the Pentagon leaving the soldiers in limbo until mid-July when orders were given.

The Lompoc Record, a newspaper local to Santa Maria, reported that Dressler will be buried at Oconee Hills Cemetery in Athens, Ga., near the home of his widow, Amanda, 20.

Dressler’s father, Cecil, who lives with his wife, Tonya, and daughter, Melissa, in Sun City, Ariz., told the Record, “Shawn was a good man, loved his country, loved the men he served with.”

A Navy veteran, Cecil Dressler also said his son joined the Army on Veterans Day, following graduation from Santa Maria High.

Dressler, who was on his second Iraq tour, died three weeks before his first wedding anniversary. He and Amanda were married in Denmark but had planned a big wedding after his return from Iraq.

“Shawn was so sure he was going to come home,” Amanda Dressler told the Record, “he would tell me that I wouldn’t have to worry anymore.”

Brown, who grew up in Dearborn Heights, Mich., had moved to Tampa a few years before enlisting in 2005, The Associated Press reported.

Wayne Brown said his son, who was recently married, used to work with hardwood flooring before becoming a soldier. Joshua Brown felt Iraqis had lived too long under a dictator and he was helping them.

“He wanted to help, and that’s why he went over there,” Wayne Brown told the St. Petersburg Times.

A spokesperson for the Schweinfurt public affairs office said a memorial service for Dressler and Brown has been scheduled for 1 p.m. June 21 at the Ledward Barracks chapel.

Also, a memorial service for three Vanguards killed May 30 in Baghdad — Sgt. Bacilio E. Cuellar, Spc. James E. Lundin and Pfc. Joshua M. Moore — will be held at the Ledward Barracks chapel at 10 a.m. June 20.

A memorial for another Vanguard soldier, Spc. Clinton Coy Blodgett, killed May 26, and another Dagger soldier, Staff Sgt. Virgil Chance Martinez of 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, who died May 6, will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, also at the Ledward Barracks chapel.

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