Nation & World

Bomb blast in Diyala kills four Fort Bragg soldiers

Four soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division were killed in Iraq Sunday by a blast from an improvised explosive device, the military announced Tuesday.

Killed by a bomb on a vehicle in Iraq's Diyala Province were: Pfc. Orlando E. Gonzalez, 21, of New Freedom, Pa.; Cpl. Jason Nunez, 22, of Naranjito, Puerto Rico; Sgt. Jason W. Swiger, 24, of South Portland, Maine; and Pfc. Anthony J. White, 21, of Columbia, S.C., according to the 82nd Airborne Public Affairs Office at Fort Bragg.

March has been a particularly bloody month for the 82nd Airborne's 3rd Brigade. Earlier in the month, seven soldiers were killed in a double bomb blast in Samarra.

Gonzalez, a gunner, joined the Army in June 2005, according to the news release from the public affairs office. He is survived by his father and mother. His family did not want to be interviewed, according to officials with the 82nd Airborne.

"On a daily basis Private First Class Gonzalez displayed courage, honor and selfless service," Capt. John Carson said in a news release.

Nunez, a chemical operations specialist, joined the Army in March 2005. He is survived by his wife, a daughter and his parents. His family also did not want to be interviewed.

"Nunez is a true hero that represents all that is great about America," Carson said in a news release.

Swiger, a scout driver and team leader, joined the Army in May 2000. He was on his third tour in Iraq.

After high school, Swiger found his calling when he joined the Army, his South Portland High School principal ,Jeanne Crocker, told the Associated Press. He often returned to school in full military uniform to address a military history class. His uncle was a former member of the 82nd Airborne, the AP reported.

"He was proud of what he was doing. He felt what he was doing had a purpose," his sister, Angelica Cole told the AP. "He was just trying to make the world a better place. I have two small children, and he would talk about how he wanted it to be safer for them."

Swiger left behind his wife, Allana, his mother, and five siblings.

White, a vehicle mechanic, joined the Army in March 2005. He had followed in his father's footsteps in training as a tank mechanic, White's father told the AP.

"It was like father, like son," Harry White told the AP.

White is survived by his fiance, his parents and his brother.

Memorial services will be held for all four men by their unit in Iraq. Family funeral arrangements for the men are not complete.

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