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Army Cpl. Chad D. Groepper

Died February 17, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Kingsley, Iowa; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Feb. 17 in Baqubah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his dismounted patrol using small arms fire. Also killed was Cpl. Luke S. Runyan.

Army identifies 2 Fort Lewis soldiers killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

FORT LEWIS, Wash. — The Army has identified two Fort Lewis soldiers who were killed Feb. 17 in the Diyala province of Iraq when their patrol was attacked by small-arms fire.

Spc. Chad D. Groepper of Kingsley, Iowa, and Spc. Luke S. Runyan of Spring Grove, Pa., were both 21.

Both were members of the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and deployed in April 2007.

The Army released the identifications Feb. 19, a day after notifying families.

Families say that Groepper leaves behind a wife and 4-month-old daughter; Runyan leaves behind a wife and a 1-year-old daughter.

Family remember soldier’s sense of adventure

The Associated Press

Army Spc. Chad D. Groepper’s sister, Denae Erickson, laughed at the memory of how her baby brother once installed speakers in her car.

She had asked him to change the oil.

“Yeah, but doesn’t it sound great?” Groepper had asked her in return.

Groepper, 21, of Kingsley, Iowa, was killed Feb. 17 by small-arms fire in Diyala province, Iraq. He was 2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Lewis, Wash.

“Chad taught us many things, but probably the most important was to never stop making things better,” said his sister.

Groepper was known to be adventurous. At his funeral, a tiny pair of his first cowboy boots were displayed. His casket was painted with racer’s flames.

“Chad was always the first one to step up and try something new,” said the Rev. John Battern. “But he had a quiet side to him, too — contemplative. He liked to think about things.”

Groepper’s family described him as having a warm personality.

“He loved working on cars, snowboarding, riding four-wheelers, anything that was high energy,” recalled his sister.

He also is survived by his wife, Stephanie, and their infant daughter, Clarissa.

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