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Army Spc. James M. Kiehl

Died March 23, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Comfort, Texas; assigned to 507th Maintenance Company, Fort Bliss, Texas; killed in an ambush near Nasiriyah, Iraq.

James Kiehl always told his wife to “just think the best.” Jill Kiehl, 20, said he was a natural optimist.

They were an odd couple. She: short, serious and a natural pessimist. He: tall, “goofy” and a sunny outlook.

They met in the military and were married barely more than a year. Their first child is due this month. She’s staying with her parents in Des Moines.

Kiehl’s parents in Comfort, Texas, had taken heart from a phone call from a friend of their son, who told them Kiehl had been baptized in Qatar before heading to the battlefield.

A computer repair technician, Kiehl was a member of his high school’s basketball team and marching band.

Jill Kiehl, meanwhile, was clinging to a white teddy bear he gave her before he left. Kiehl bought a stuffed bear for his unborn son, too — one with a small digital recorder so he could hear his daddy’s voice.

— USA Today and The Associated Press

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2002   2001

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