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Archive for Friday, December 16, 2005

Four Fort Riley soldiers killed

December 16, 2005

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— Four soldiers from Fort Riley were killed Tuesday northwest of Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee.

The soldiers were part of the Army's 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor, 3rd Brigade. Their deaths bring to 65 the number of active duty soldiers from Fort Riley killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.

It's the second-highest loss of life in Iraq for Fort Riley troops. Five soldiers were killed on March 31, 2004, when a bomb detonated under their M-113 in Malahma, an area in the Sunni Triangle.

A Fort Riley spokeswoman said rumors had been circulating since it was first announced that four soldiers had been killed earlier this week in Taji.

"You can't have something like this happen and not have people speculating," spokeswoman Deb Skidmore said. "I think any time we have had a death it affects everybody. Even if you don't know them, they are part of Fort Riley, part of that Army family from Fort Riley."

The casualties were identified as Spc. Peter J. Navarro, 20, of Wildwood, Mo.; Staff Sgt. Michael S. Zyla, 32, of Elgin, Ore.; Sgt. Brian C. Karim, 22, of Talcott, W. Va.; and Spc. James C. Kesinger, 32, of Pharr, Texas.

It was the second deployment to Iraq for Karim and Zyla, and the first for Navarro and Kesinger.

Military records show at least three of the soldiers - Zyla, Karim and Kesinger - were married with children.

She said a memorial service has tentatively been scheduled for Wednesday.

Skidmore said about 3,700 soldiers from Fort Riley still are stationed in Iraq.

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