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Army Sgt. Derek T. Roberts

Died June 14, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

24, of Gold River, Calif.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Infantry Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died June 14 in Kirkuk, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Also killed were Spc. Val J. Borm and Spc. Farid Elazzouzi.

Pentagon: Three Hawaii-based soldiers killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — Three Hawaii-based soldiers died in Iraq last week when a bomb exploded near their vehicle, the Pentagon said June 20.

The death of one of the soldiers — Spc. Val John Borm, 21, of Sidney, Neb. — had been reported earlier by his family.

Sgt. Derek Roberts, 24, of Gold River, Calif., and Spc. Farid Elazzouzi of Paterson, N.J., were also killed. The three died last June 14 in Kirkuk.

Based at Schofield Barracks, the soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Infantry Combat Team, of the 25th Infantry Division.

Roberts met his fiance, Judi Arel, in Hawaii. They were to marry later this year.

“People know that he was extremely loving and compassionate and very self-giving,” Arel told Honolulu television station KITV on Wednesday in a telephone interview from Sacramento, Calif. “I have nothing but the best, best memories of being with him.”

A memorial service for the three soldiers was slated for June 29 at Schofield Barracks.

They were killed the same week as two other Schofield soldiers in Iraq.

First Lt. Frank B. Walkup IV, 23, died June 16 after a bomb exploded near him and Pfc. Casey Carriker, 20, died June 13 of non-combat injuries.

Friends, fiancee remember soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

Judi Arel, Army Sgt. Derek T. Roberts’s bride-to-be, said he was a highly decorated soldier. But what meant the most to her was the kind of person he was.

“He always gave me compliments everyday and he always just took care of me and that’s what I’ll miss,” Arel said.

Roberts, 24, of Gold River, Calif., died June 14 in Kirkuk, Iraq, when an explosive detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Other soldiers in Kirkuk knew Roberts as someone who always had a smile, a witty comment, and a way to make every situation better, Arel said.

“No matter how long he was deployed, I would keep waiting for him, because I love him,” Arel said. “No matter how long I have to keep waiting for him, I’ll just keep waiting until I see him again in heaven.”

He also is survived by his parents, Dennis and Willy, who are devastated, Arel said. “Words can’t even explain the shock and grief.”

Kristine Brewer, a family friend, said Roberts was “a very outgoing person and he was always full of life.”

“It’s very, very hard for me to handle,” Brewer said. “It’s a shock to everyone. He was a really good guy.”

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