A Vilseck, Germany-based soldier was killed in a mortar attack in Iraq on Wednesday, according to press reports.

The Pacific News Center reported Thursday that Vilseck-based 33-year-old Staff Sgt. Joseph Gamboa, of Guam, was killed in Iraq.

The report quoted sources who said his unit came under mortar attack. It said Gamboa, who had served eight to 10 years in the Army, is survived by his wife Michelle and five children.

“The family is awaiting details of his death and arrangements for his body to return to Guam,” the report said.

Gamboa’s mother, Cecilia, was quoted by the KUAM television station in Guam as saying her son “loves to golf, take care of his family, he likes bowling, golf and basketball and almost every kind of sport. He’s a good boy. He has a lot of respect for everybody. He loves to joke.”

The television station reported that Gamboa enlisted in the Army in 1999, wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“He said, ‘Dad, I’m going to join the Army and be like you,” his father, Francisco, told KUAM. “It made me feel proud of him for being in the service, but I’m sad that he lost his life over in Iraq. He would say, ‘Dad, don’t worry, I’ll be home,’ so I wasn’t expecting this to happen to him.”

U.S. Army Europe spokesman Bruce Anderson said the death had not been reported by the Department of Defense and, therefore, USAREUR could not confirm or comment on the report. However, Grafenwöhr Middle School sent out a grievance letter on Thursday stating that the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment father of one of its students died in Iraq on Wednesday.

The death is the 18th sustained by the regiment since it deployed to Iraq in May last year.

“A statement was read to all students to inform them of the death. To prevent rumors and to support and allow students to express their concerns, the counselors, school psychologist, and their teachers were and will continue to be available to talk with our students about what has happened,” the grievance letter states.

Students have created cards to offer condolences to their classmate and her family, the letter states.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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