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Army Staff Sgt. Robert L. Love Jr.

Died December 1, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

28, of Livingston, Ala.; assigned to the 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Giessen, Germany; died Dec. 1 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations in Ramadi, Iraq.

Livingston soldier was due home in January

The Associated Press

LIVINGSTON, Ala. — An Army sergeant from Livingston was killed last week by a roadside bomb — the third Iraq casualty from Alabama in one week.

Staff Sgt. Robert L. Love Jr. died Dec. 1 in Ramadi when an improvised explosive device, or IED, blew up near his vehicle during combat. Two other Alabama soldiers, Spc. Christopher Mason, 32, of Mobile, and Spc. Jon-Erik Loney, 21, of Hartselle, died Nov. 28 in separate bombings in Iraq.

Love, 28, a 1996 graduate of Livingston High School in west Alabama, was assigned to the 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Giessen, Germany.

The Defense Department initially announced Thursday that Love was from Meridian, Miss., but Love was born across the line in nearby Livingston, according to school officials.

His mother, Mary Love, contacted Friday in Livingston, said her son and his wife, Staff Sgt. Brianna K. Love, were sent to Germany at the same time. He said the couple had a 3-year-old daughter and Robert Love has an 11-year-old daughter.

“My daughter-in-law called me yesterday,” she said. “He was supposed to come home in January.”

Mary Love said her son, one of five children, had played in the band at Livingston High. She said he had immediately enlisted in the Army after graduation and had served eight years. She said she did not know why the Department of Defense listed her son’s hometown as Meridian, Miss., which is nearby.

“Brianna said they have his body in Delaware,” she said. “They’re supposed to be doing a service for him Dec. 16 in Germany. The body should be here on the 17th and she wanted to have the funeral on the 20th.”

The soldier’s father, Robert Love Sr., said his son’s loss “has been hard but we’re holding up. You know, he was supposed to come home soon.”

Love’s death brings the number of Alabamians killed in Iraq and the war on terror to at least 73, based on an unofficial count. Lt. Col. Robert Horton, an Alabama Guard spokesman, has been keeping track of deaths from all branches of the military since Sept. 11, 2001.

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