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Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Kuglics

Died June 5, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

25, of North Canton, Ohio; assigned as special agent to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations; died June 5 in Kirkuk, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Tech. Sgt. Ryan A. Balmer.

Family, friends remember soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

When Ed Bendekgey, a Spanish teacher, needed to lighten the mood in the classroom, he could count on Matthew J. Kuglics.

Bendekgey would kick Kuglics a straight line and he knew he could count on an answer. “Even in Spanish,” he said.

An Air Force staff sergeant, Kuglics, 25, of North Canton, Ohio, was killed by a roadside bomb June 5 in Kirkuk, Iraq. He was a 2000 high school graduate and was assigned to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He last called his family to say he had received their birthday gifts — a Spider-Man Xbox 360 video game, a bottle of dill pickles and a pepperoni sausage.

“He was a perfect son, and the perfect big brother,” said his mother, Donna.

Kuglics, on his second tour, played soccer in high school and continued to play in the Air Force. He had worked in satellite communications and served in Kuwait and South Korea before Iraq.

He also is survived by his father, Les.

His sister, Emily, said she will not forget her brother’s laugh.

“He could walk into a room and the whole room would be glowing and you just knew he was there,” she said. “Even now, I still hear him laughing.”

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