Nation & World

N.C.-based soldier dies in Iraq

A North Carolina-based soldier and father of five was killed in eastern Baghdad on Thursday.

Sgt. Ronald L. Coffelt, 36, of Fair Oaks, Calif., died from injuries received from an improvised explosive device while on a combat vehicle patrol, the Department of Defense announced Friday.

He was assigned to the 503rd Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps based at Fort Bragg.

Coffelt was described by his father as a sports enthusiast and a "big-time family man."

Robert Coffelt said his son was on his second tour in Iraq and was one month into a 90-day deployment extension. Coffelt was due home in September. He had enlisted in the Army after high school, left the Army, then joined the National Guard and was sent to Iraq.

Afterward, Coffelt re-enlisted and was sent on his second tour, his father said.

"Ron was a real extrovert. He was very outgoing," his father said. "Just a real family man."

Sgt. Jennifer Cendrowski-Darby called Coffelt "a dedicated soldier, father and husband."

A memorial service will be held for Coffelt at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Army post's chapel at Fort Bragg.

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