Honoring 5 Brave Men From Our Ft. Lewis:
Fallen Soldiers Remembered At Fort Lewis Memorial
By Hal Bernton
A Tuesday memorial service for six Fort Lewis soldiers drew hundreds of soldiers, family and friends from around the country to a post gymnasium, where the men were honored in tributes and a photo slide-show put together by their comrades still in Iraq.
The soldiers, ranging in age from 19 to 28, were traveling together in an eight-wheeled Stryker vehicle that was destroyed in a May 6 bomb in the violent Diyala Province north of Baghdad.
The soldiers who died were:
Staff Sgt. Vicenzo Romeo,23
Sgt. Jason Robert Harkins, 25
Cpl. Matthew Lee Alexander, 21
Cpl. Michael Avery Purcel, 19
Cpl. Anthony Mitchell Bradshaw, 21
Sgt. Joel William Lewis, 28
Their families filed into front row seats, drawn together by the common bonds of grief. They lingered after the traditional playing of taps and gun salute, sharing hugs and gazing at the framed pictures of the deceased soldiers placed beside their rifles and helmets.
The soldiers were with the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment. That unit is part of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which has lost 29 soldiers since it was deployed to Iraq last June.