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Army Sgt. Norman L. Tollett

Died April 28, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

30, of Elyria, Ohio; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died April 28, in Baghdad of wounds sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire during combat patrol operations.

Soldier from Elyria dies in Iraq

The Associated Press

ELYRIA, Ohio — A soldier from northeast Ohio has been killed in Iraq, his family said.

Army Sgt. Norman Tollett, 30, of Elyria, died last week in Baghdad.

His father, David Tollett, learned of the death April 29 when military officers visited his home.

Norman Tollett entered the military after visiting the World Trade Center site in New York and learning that former NFL player Pat Tillman, killed in Afghanistan in 2004, had said he joined the Army to become part of a larger team, his father said.

Tollett joined the military in August 2004 and was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the 82nd Airborne Division.

He was a 1994 graduate of Elyria Catholic High School, where he was co-captain of the football team.

Elyria is about 23 miles southwest of Cleveland.

Nearly 1,000 mourn fallen sergeant

The Associated Press

ELYRIA, Ohio — Nearly 1,000 mourners gathered at the funeral of a sergeant who was motivated to join the Army after a visit to the site of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Sgt. Norman Tollett, 30, of Elyria, was killed last month by an improvised bomb while on patrol in Baghdad.

The paratrooper had visited the attack site in New York in 2005. He also was inspired by the comments of former NFL football player Pat Tillman, killed in Afghanistan in 2004, who said he went to war to be part of a larger team, family members said.

Maj. Gen. David Huntoon, commandant of the U.S. Army War College, told the mourners May 5 at the service at Elyria Catholic High School that serving in the 82nd Airborne unit required equal measures of courage and compassion.

“This dangerous duty was a natural mission for Sgt. Tollett and we mourn his loss,” Huntoon said. “It’s clear he was an outstanding leader who always looked out for his fellow troops.”

Huntoon said that during a memorial service for Tollett in Baghdad, the fallen soldier’s battalion commander called Tollett a compassionate man with an easy manner.

“He was a true hero; the epitome of selfless service. He excelled in everything and always put the well-being of his fellow troopers ahead of his own. A smile rarely left his face.”

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