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Army Spc. Gary L. Gooch

Died November 5, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

22, of Ocala, Fla.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; died Nov. 5 in Jelewar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

A cold-weather fan from Florida

The Associated Press

Gary Gooch may have lived most of his life in Florida, but one of the first things he wanted to do while he was on leave over Thanksgiving was take a snowboarding trip.

“For some reason, he just loves the cold,” said Keely Murphy, Gooch’s older sister.

Gooch, 22, was killed by a roadside bomb Nov. 5 in Jelewar, Afghanistan. He enlisted after graduating from Dunnellon High School in 2006, and was assigned to Fort Lewis, Wash.

The soldier at times lived with his cousin, Megan Crowley, who was 10 years older. She remembered a loving young man who often accompanied Crowley and her girlfriends on outings. He also used to collect model John Deere tractors, she said.

“He used to sing that song, ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,’ ” Crowley said, referring to the country anthem by Kenny Chesney.

Lynn Bazinet said her nephew Richard Lind — whom she raised — and Gooch were inseparable. The two would stay up all night watching movies when they could, then sleep until 2 p.m. Then the pair woke up to their own breakfast of champions: pizza rolls.

“He said it was the world’s most perfect food,” Bazinet said.

Gooch is also survived by his mother, Jeanine Murphy; father and stepmother, Gary and Patty Gooch; stepsister Brittany Marie Gooch; and numerous other relatives.

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