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Army Staff Sgt. Mark A. Lawton

Died August 29, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

41, of Hayden, Colo.; assigned to the 244th Engineer Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve, Grand Junction, Colo.; killed Aug. 29 when his convoy was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade north of Suaydat, Iraq.

Reservist Mark A. Lawton had volunteered for duty in Iraq, even though he was scheduled for an Army school that would have kept him stateside.

“His desire was that he could share his combat experience with younger, less experienced troops and make sure that each of his boys came home in one piece,” Lawton’s family said in a statement.

Staff Sgt. Lawton, 41, of Hayden, Colo., was killed Aug. 29 in Iraq when his convoy was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

He is survived by his wife, Sherri, and sons Dustin, 4, and Tanner, 1.

Lawton had served in both the Army and the Marines, and was a Gulf War veteran, said Capt. Curtis Carney of the U.S. Army Reserve in Denver. He joined the reserves after leaving active duty.

Sherri Lawton was too shaken to speak at the funeral, so her father, Louis Holloway, read a letter she had written. “Mark died on Aug. 29, 14 days before our fifth wedding anniversary,” Holloway read. “That was the day my world stopped spinning. Mark was my best friend. Mark never went anywhere without kissing me goodbye and telling me he loved me.”

— Associated Press

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