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Army Capt. Eric T. Paliwoda

Died January 2, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

28, of Texas; assigned to 4th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), based in Fort Carson, Colo.; killed in action when his command post when it came under mortar attack, on Jan. 2 in Balad, Iraq.

Capt. Eric T. Paliwoda had a busy life ahead of him. There was a wedding to plan, a master’s degree to earn and a teaching position to pursue.

“He was very excited. He’d be a wonderful teacher; he had a very commanding presence,” said his mother, Mary Paliwoda.

Paliwoda, 28, of Goodyear, Ariz., was killed Jan. 2 when his command post came under a mortar attack in Balad, about 50 miles northwest of Baghdad. An engineer, he was based at Fort Carson, Colo. Paliwoda and his fiancee, Wendy Rosen, were planning a June wedding, said his father, Alfred Paliwoda. He also wanted to earn a master’s degree and teach at his alma mater, West Point, said his mother.

Paliwoda grew up in Farmington, Conn., and was a standout basketball player in high school.

Many universities sought the 6-foot-7 player, and he chose the prestigious military college, Mary Paliwoda said. “Originally, he did go there to play basketball. But he was always willing to devote himself for our country,” she said.

— Associated Press

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