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Army Sgt. David J. Luff Jr.

Died November 21, 2010 Serving During Operation New Dawn

29, of Hamilton, Ohio; was assigned to 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Nov. 21 in Tikrit, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire.

Luff was looking forward to returning home

By Janice Morse

The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON, Ohio — Stacy Garrison wept at the thought of her brother’s text messages, telling her how badly he wanted to come home from his Army deployment to spend more time with his infant son.

But Hamilton native Sgt. David J. Luff Jr. was killed Nov. 21 in Iraq, preventing him from returning to Hawaii, where he had been stationed, to see his baby, Aiden, as planned in February, Garrison said.

Father and son had gotten to spend just a month together in Hawaii after the baby’s birth in May, Garrison said, before Luff was sent on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Luff, 29, died in Tikrit after insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire, the Department of Defense said.

“He was an awesome guy ... he loved his son and his wife very much,” Garrison, 31, said, noting that her brother and his wife, the former Katie Halcomb, had been sweethearts at Hamilton High School.

The couple would have marked their second wedding anniversary Dec. 31, Garrison said, noting, “They first got together when he was 16 ... he really loved her a lot and would smile and laugh when he would talk about her.”

Luff graduated from the school in 1999. Principal Dennis Malone made an announcement Nov. 23, asking for a moment of silence in Luff’s honor, said city schools spokeswoman Joni Copas.

Luff spent eight years in the military, following in the footsteps of his brother, John, who also did a tour of duty in Iraq, Garrison said.

Luff was a fan of the Bengals and was known for his sense of humor and good-natured attitude, his sister said.

Because her brother was stationed such a long distance away in Hawaii, the last time Garrison saw her brother was at a family gathering last year on Christmas Eve in Hamilton.

He and his wife excitedly talked about preparing for the arrival of their baby, and “he was so excited that it was a boy,” Garrison said.

Brother and sister communicated mostly via text message and he didn’t say much about his military duties, she said, adding, “He was ready to come home and see his son.”

After spending a month with the baby, he spent his 29th birthday at a Hawaiian luau before deploying to Iraq.

“I think he’s a hero — him and every other guy and girl that’s ever been over there,” Garrison said. Then she revised her statement: “I don’t think it. I know it.”

Besides his wife, sister and son, Luff also leaves his parents, David J. Sr. and Lucy; brothers Jeff, 28, in Dayton, Ohio, and John, 25, in Texas.

‘He was an awesome guy,’ sister says

The Associated Press

Army Sgt. David Luff was excited about his son’s birth in May and was glad he was home for the day he had been looking forward to since getting married a year and a half earlier.

But he had just three weeks with his newborn before leaving for his second deployment to Iraq. He looked forward to returning home on leave in February and reuniting with his wife, Katie, and son, Aiden.

He talked about his anticipation in text messages to his sister, Stacy Garrison, she told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

“He was an awesome guy. ... He loved his son and his wife very much,” Garrison said.

Luff, 29, of Hamilton, Ohio, died Nov. 21 in Tikrit when insurgents attacked his unit with small weapons. He was assigned to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

His second wedding anniversary would have been Dec. 31. He began dating Katie when they were students at Hamilton High School.

Luff, a 1999 graduate of Hamilton High, also was known for his sense of humor and good-natured attitude. He was a big fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals, and semipro wrestling.

He also leaves behind his parents, Dave and Lucy Luff.

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