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Two Fort Campbell Soldiers Die In Iraq

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) - Two Fort Campbell soldiers were killed
Thursday in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle,
the Army said Monday.

Another soldier based at Fort Carson, Colo., who was riding in
the vehicle, also died. Lt. Col. Paul Finken and Staff Sgt. Joseph Alan Gage were based with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger, 40, of Garland, Texas, was assigned to
the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Finken, 40, of Earling, Iowa, was a 1989 graduate of the U.S.

Military Academy at West Point. He was an infantry officer assigned
to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 506th Infantry Regiment.
He entered the Army in May 1989 and arrived at Fort Campbell in
June 2003. Gage 28, of Modesto, Calif., was an infantryman assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.

Gage was a 10-year military veteran who arrived at Fort
Campbell in September 2002. Finken's family released a statement describing him as a "devoted husband, loving father and respected leader."

"He loved being a soldier, and respected the soldiers he worked
with. He always set the example and would never ask his soldiers to
do anything he wouldn't do himself," the statement said. Finken received a Bronze Star, along with multiple other commendations during his time in the Army.

Finken is survived by his wife, Jackie, and daughters Emilie, Caroline, and Julia of Clarksville, Tenn. Gage received an Army Good Conduct Medal, among several commendations. He is survived by his wife, Samantha, and son, Michael, of Fort Campbell, Ky.

Kruger was deputy commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team and
won a Bronze Star and a Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf
clusters among other commendations. He previously served in Iraq,
Afghanistan and Bahrain. A memorial service for the fallen soldiers will be held in Iraq. Fort Campbell holds a memorial on the second Wednesday of each month.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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