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GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade took time out from training Sunday to remember a fellow Sky Soldier.

Sgt. Andrew C. Steele was killed a week earlier in a single-vehicle accident near Padova, Italy.

Steele joined Company C, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment in July after stints with the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment in South Korea and the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga.

Soldiers gathered in the Camp Aachen Theater to remember their comrade, according to a release issued by the brigade. The release also contained a series of comments made by his fellow soldiers:

“I think the impact of Sergeant Steele’s loss finally hit me this last Tuesday when I was ordering ACU (Army Combat Uniform) nameplates in the tailor shop,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Ferrara, Steele’s platoon leader. “I saw amidst all the other rucksacks lying on the floor one waiting for an owner who would never pick it up.”

Capt. Matthew Myer, the company’s commander, called Steele “an unwavering professional. His tragic loss will always be felt in this company.”

According to a release issued by the Southern European Task Force (Airborne), Steele was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. His vehicle had left the SS-11 between Padova and Vicenza at about 2 a.m. and hit a tree. Italian investigators are still looking into the accident.

Capt. David Schnarr, the battalion’s chaplain, said he heard only good things while talking with Steele’s comrades about their loss.

“He was a great guy,” Schnarr said. “You will never hear anything bad said about him.”

“He always had a smile on his face,” Ferrara said. “That was him. Always such a positive attitude. I don’t know what the next world holds for him, but this one will surely be less without him.”

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