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Army Staff Sgt. Justin L. Bauer

Died January 10, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

24, of Loveland, Colo.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Jan. 10 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Colo. soldier killed by bomb in Iraq

The Associated Press

LA SALLE, Colo. — A soldier killed when a bomb went off near his vehicle in Iraq was a former wrestler in high school and planned to work as a firefighter when he returned home from the war.

Staff Sgt. Justin L. Bauer, 24, of Loveland, had interned at the Berthoud Fire Protection District, where his father worked as a firefighter, earning a citation in 2003 for rescuing a woman from a car and using CPR to resuscitate her.

“I couldn’t be a more fortunate father,” Greg Bauer told the Greeley Tribune on Monday from his home in La Salle. “He was such a good son and a good mentor to his two younger brothers.”

The Department of Defense on Monday said Bauer died Saturday in Baghdad.

Bauer was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.

During his military service, Bauer earned the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal. Bauer began his internship with the fire district in 2002 after graduating from Berthoud High School, earning commendations in 2002 for helping evacuate a neighborhood during a police standoff and in 2003 for his and another firefighters’ rescue efforts of the trapped woman.

“This kid was full of life,” Fire Chief Steve Charles told the Rocky Mountain News. “You can’t describe Justin with one word. He was fun to be around. When it was time to have fun, he had fun; when it was time to get down to work, he worked. To me, he was a man of compassion.”

Charles said Bauer told him he would return to be a firefighter.

Scott Pickert, Bauer’s former wrestling coach, remembered the many times he saw Bauer and his younger brothers, Jeremy and Jacob, at the fire station with their dad.

Three months ago, Bauer had recently married his high school sweetheart, now Kari Bauer.

“He was a model husband, loving and compassionate, and a son who never gave his family any problems when he was growing up,” Fort Bragg, N.C.-based Kari Bauer said in a statement.

Flags flown at half-staff for slain soldier

The Associated Press

DENVER — Gov. Bill Ritter has ordered U.S. and Colorado flags to fly at half-staff on state and federal buildings on Jan. 21 in honor of a Berthoud soldier killed in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Justin Bauer was killed Jan. 10 from injuries caused by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. It was the 24-year-old soldier’s second tour of duty there.

He was a paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. Bauer was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Bauer graduated from Berthoud High School in 2002. He served as a firefighter with the Berthoud Fire Protection District before joining the Army in October 2004.

Bauer is survived by his wife, Kari Bauer; his parents, Gregory Bauer and Connie Haddock; and two brothers and a sister.

Bauer recalled as proponent of serving others

The Associated Press

In honor of Justin L. Bauer, his two brothers and friends sat around a bonfire at Carter Lake in Colorado, the place Justin loved so much, to remember the man who would do anything for them.

“He’d stand in front of any one of his buddies to defend them,” Blake Felton said.

Bauer, 24, of Loveland, Colo., was killed Jan. 10 by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He was a 2002 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Bragg. He was on his second tour.

After graduating, he served as an intern firefighter for the Berthoud Fire Protection District. His father, Greg, was assistant fire chief for the district.

“It’s significant that Staff Sgt. Bauer was both a firefighter and a soldier,” Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti said. “He lived to give his best to others.”

“He always gave 100 percent to whatever he did,” said his former high school principal, Leonard Sherman.

Justin’s best friends hope his life will serve as a message for everyone to live by.

“Live every moment like it’s your last. He did that his entire life,” Devin Olsen said.

He also is survived by his wife, Kari.

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