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VILSECK, Germany — A memorial ceremony for two slain cavalrymen was held at the Rose Barracks chapel Friday.

Sgt. Robert Thomas Ayres III died in Baghdad on Sept. 29, and Sgt. Randell Olguin, the following day. Both served with the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment and were wounded when their units were attacked by small-arms fire.

Ayres, 23, and Olguin, 24, enlisted in the service within months of each other and deployed to Iraq from Fort Lewis, Wash., in 2004, serving in Mosul and Fallujah with their units.

“They didn’t know each other in life, but they stand together now with our greatest heroes,” said Maj. Thomas Rickard, the regiment’s rear detachment commander, at the ceremony.

Both men joined after Sept. 11, 2001, while conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were under way, Rickard said, pointing out that either could have left active service after their first deployments. “At the tip of the spear, though, we fight for each other,” Rickard said of their continued willingness to serve.

Ayres, who received the Army Commendation Medal with V device, “will be remembered for his willingness to serve, toughness, dedication to duty and sense of humor,” said Capt. David Dykema, 3rd Squadron, 2nd SCR’s rear detachment. Ayres was a member of the squadron’s Company G.

Well-liked by his superiors and soldiers alike, Ayres loved to play with children. At unit cookouts, he would go to fellow soldiers’ homes and spend his time playing with the kids, Dykema said.

He lost much of his hearing from training with heavy machine guns and fellow officers often had to raise their voices to get his attention — even on patrols requiring stealth.

Though a soldier for just a handful of years, Olguin made an impression on those around him.

“He may have only been a young (sergeant), but there was something about him that made him seem bigger … like he had 20 years under his belt as a (noncommissioned officer),” said Capt. Emmanuel Sioson, 1st Squadron’s rear detachment commander. Olguin was a member of the squadron’s Company C.

“He will always be there to lead from the front and be there to listen, even in our memories,” Sioson said.

Ayres, of Los Angeles, is survived by his parents, Robert and Michell, and brother Jackson.

Olguin is survived by his wife, Anna-Maria; father, Senaido; mother, Gail; and brother Joey, all of Ralls, Texas.

Ayres and Olguin were the third and fourth members of 2nd SCR killed during the present deployment. The 4,000-soldier regiment, which left Germany on a 15-month tour in August, is primarily stationed in and around Baghdad.

Third Vilseck soldier killed in Baghdad

A Vilseck, Germany-based soldier from Hayward, Calif., died Thursday in Baghdad of wounds suffered by small-arms fire, the Pentagon has announced.

Army Spc. Avealalo Milo, 23, was mortally wounded when insurgents attacked his unit, officials said.

Milo, who was with the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, was born in American Samoa and moved to Hayward in 2003, his sister told www.insidebayarea.com.

Veape Milo, 18, told reporters her brother lived with his uncle before joining the Army in 2005, much to her surprise. He enjoyed playing ruby and soccer and has two brothers and two sisters.

“Right when he deployed to Iraq, he always called trying to comfort our family so that we would not worry about him and his missions,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Milo’s wife, Jocelynn, told nbc11.com she was happy his life had a strong sense of purpose. He was modest about the inherent risks of serving in the military, she said.

She said she enlisted at his request.

“I mean it took me a while to agree to it, but I wanted to see what he’d seen,” she said.

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