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Army Cpl. Miguel A. Baez

Died February 5, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

32, of Bonaire, Ga.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Feb. 5 in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when he encountered an improvised explosive device during combat operations. Also killed were Sgt. John C. Osmolski and Sgt. Timothy R. Van Orman.

Paratroopers killed in Iraq in explosion

The Associated Press

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Two paratroopers based in North Carolina have died from wounds they suffered in an explosion in Iraq.

The 82nd Airborne Division said Thursday that 23-year-old Sgt. John C. Osmolski of Eustis, Florida, and 32-year-old Spc. Miguel A. Baez III of Bonaire, Georgia died Tuesday. Both were fatally injured while conducting combat operations near Al Muqdadiyah.

Osmolski was a combat engineer with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Special Troops Battalion in the 82nd Airborne. His company commander, Maj. James Downing, said Osmolski was a “premier sapper” and would have been a leader in the engineer world.

Baez was an assistant machine gunner with the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. His company’s 1st sergeant, Kevin Spooner, says Baez always volunteered to help.

Comrades remember specialist as the ‘best kind of soldier’

The Associated Press

Army Spc. Miguel A. Baez III’s company first sergeant, Kevin Spooner, described Baez as the “best kind of soldier.”

“He was a clown, a loving father and a wonderful husband,” Spooner said. “He always volunteered and never hesitated to help out a brother. He’ll be greatly missed.”

Baez, 32, of Bonaire, Ga., was killed Feb. 5 by an explosive in Muqdadiyah, Iraq. He was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., and was on his first


An assistant machine gunner, Baez joined the Army in May 2005. He completed Infantry One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning in August 2005 and the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Ga., two months later. He was in the 82nd Airborne Division.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Miguel a few years ago,” Trudi-Ann Wilson wrote on an online bulletin board. “He was a loving father, son and husband. He also expressed such an amazing personality and spirit.

Baez is survived by his wife, Elena Deer-Baez, and his children, Selena, Miguel, Aaliyah and Breanna.

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