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Army Sgt. Alexander U. Gagalac

Died September 9, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

28, of Wahiawa, Hawaii; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Sept. 9 in Hawijah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with a rocket during combat operations.

Soldier killed: ‘The taste of freedom is going to be sweet’

The Associated Press

WAHIAWA, Hawaii — Sgt. Alexis Gagalac says he was at National Guard drill practice when his cell phone beeped with a message from his mother: “Come back home. Your brother is dead.”

Sgt. Alexander Gagalac, 28, of Wahiawa, died just eight days before he was to leave the war. A rocket-propelled grenade hit his Humvee on Sept. 9 while he was on a combat patrol in Hawijah, Iraq.

Gagalac’s brother said he and Alexander, born just two minutes apart, were virtually inseparable. They joined the Army together in 2002 but were assigned to different units.

The surviving brother says he has asked the Army if he could escort his brother’s body home. The family had been preparing for him to come home on Sept. 21 — alive. He was scheduled to leave Iraq on Sept. 17.

Both brothers were in Iraq in 2004, and Alexis had gone back with his unit 13 months ago. Alexander was with the 25th Division and Alexis with the 1st Stryker Combat Brigade sent from Fort Lewis, Wash.

Alexis Gagalac said his twin was “my better half.”

“It’s really empty now,” Alexis told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. “When I found out, I couldn’t control myself.”

On his MySpace blog, Alexander Gagalac wrote: “For the past 13 months I have been living in a place that time forgot ‘Iraq.’ Now it is finally coming to an end with a few weeks to go. I can’t wait to be back home with family and friends. This has been a long time coming and it’s gonna feel a lot longer as it comes to those last hours that I’m here. The taste of freedom is going to be sweet.”

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