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Army Capt. Christopher F. Soelzer

Died December 24, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

26, of Sturgis, S.D., assigned to the 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, based in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., killed in action while in a vehicle that was struck by an improvised explosive device, on Dec. 24 near Samarra, Iraq.

* * * * *

To people who knew him in high school, Chris Soelzer was a quiet man who put academics first.

“I think he was close to straight A’s,” said Dave Mueller, who played high school football with Soelzer in Sturgis, S.D. “To be honest, he was real quiet, real shy, except to some of his friends. He was also a person who, you’d barely have to know him and he’d do everything for you. He was just a real nice guy.”

Capt. Soelzer, 26, was one of three soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., killed Dec. 24 when a homemade bomb blew up as they traveled in a convoy near Samarra, north of Baghdad. After high school, Soelzer earned a scholarship to attend Kemper Military School in Boonville, Mo., said his father, Steve Soelzer. He later enrolled at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, where he received a degree in chemical engineering.

— Associated Press

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