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Army Sgt. David J. Hart

Died January 8, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Lake View Terrace, Calif.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Jan. 8 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained during combat operations in Samarra, Iraq. Also killed were Pfc. Ivan E. Merlo and Pfc. Phillip J. Pannier.

Fallen soldier was ‘the toughest guy I knew’

The Associated Press

Daniel Hart said he grew up emulating his brother, David — picking up the bass guitar because that’s what his brother played.

He went on nighttime hikes with his brother and both slept under the stars in the freezing cold.

“He was the toughest guy I knew, and he was always OK,” Daniel Hart said. “And knowing that, it made me OK.”

Hart, 22, of Lake View Terrace, Calif., died Jan. 8 after he was wounded in a battle around Samarra. He was assigned to Fort Campbell.

Hart grew up in Burbank and was home schooled, said his mother, Cherie Hart. Later, the family moved to the Lakeview Terrace campus of Youth With a Mission, a Christian ministry organization with an international reach. Hart went on missions to Romania, Tahiti, New Zealand and other countries.

“David lived up to his name, which in Hebrew means: ‘well beloved,’ ‘dear,’” said his father, Jack Hart, during a memorial service.

Spc. Richard Gilbert said his buddy would sacrifice to help others succeed. “If we were going on a run and someone fell back, he would fall back to help that soldier make the run.”

He also is survived by his wife, Nicole.

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