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Army Staff Sgt. Victor M. Cota

Died May 14, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

33, of Tucson, Ariz.; assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died May 14 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device in Kadamiyah, Iraq.

Army Sgt. Victor M. Cota remembered

The Associated Press

Of all the things Gilbert Moreno will miss about Victor M. Cota, what he’ll miss most is the sound of Cota’s laugh.

“He was known for his laugh. That’s how I’ll remember him: always telling jokes,” said Moreno, a longtime friend.

Cota, 33, of Tucson, Ariz., died May 14 in Baghdad, a day after his vehicle struck an explosive in Kadamiyah. He was a 1993 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Hood.

Cota was “a man of great warmth and great passion: passion for his job and for his family,” said Maj. Gen. John M. Custer III.

“He wanted to make the world a better place with his life, and he saw being a soldier as a way to do that.”

Cota, known to his friends as Chico, loved to sing and dance and make people laugh, said boyhood friend, Aaron Valencia.

Another friend, David Camacho, said Cota didn’t care about the political aspects of the war. “He loved being a soldier. He was a very proud soldier,” Camacho said. “He tried to fulfill his commitment with honor.”

Cota leaves behind a wife, Liliana, and two children from a previous marriage, Victor Manuel, 8, and Mireya, 7.

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