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Army Spc. Jeremiah P. McCleery

Died May 2, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

24, of Portola, Calif.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died May 2 on Mosul, Iraq, after being shot by enemy forces. Also killed was Spc. Jake R. Velloza.

Friends said McCleery ‘always had your back’

The Associated Press

Josh Rogers said Jeremiah P. McCleery liked camping, something he did frequently, and also enjoyed sport shooting, fishing and four-wheeling.

Asked when he was his happiest, Rogers said: “Probably hanging out with his dad. Doing anything with his dad, probably.”

McCleery, 24, of Portola, Calif., was shot and killed May 2 by enemy forces in Mosul, Iraq. He was a 2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.

“He was a very loyal friend,” said Rogers, who graduated with McCleery. “If you broke down in Reno or far away, he’d come pick you up. He always had your back.”

McCleery had several reasons to join the military, Rogers said.

“He always wanted to when he was a kid,” he said. “He probably just wanted to out of patriotic duty and go serve. I think he wanted to go do his part.”

McCleery moved, with his family, to Portola in winter 1996 after living in southern California.

He is survived by his father, Joe, and the “love of his life” Amanda Harazin. McCleery was buried next to his mother, Colette, who passed away in 2005.

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