Fort Stewart soldiers and loved ones paused to remember one of their own killed in the Middle East last week. Spec. Andrew Tuazon was shot by a sniper in Iraq. The young man already had an excellent reputation.
Sgt. Willard Smoot says the roll call at his memorial service was probably the only one Tuazon ever missed. "I was his platoon sergeant," Smoot said. "When he came out of AIT, he came to Afghanistan and joined my platoon."
The 21-year-old was a member of the 293rd MP company and serving in Iraq a second time when he was shot last week by a sniper during a patrol in Mosul. Fellow soldiers say he served as faithfully on the home front as he did in the combat zone. "Many of us knew him because he patrolled the garrison and he was an outstanding soldier," said garrison commander Col. John Kidd.
The sound of taps and a 21-gun salute moved many to tears. Speakers told those gathered today they were on an emotional battlefield. "That battlefield consists of one single fact, our soldier who walked beside us is gone," said chaplain Col. Neil Dennington.
While the 293rd remains deployed, Third ID soldiers found it fitting to gather Tuazon's extended family. "It gives everybody a sense of security that if something happens to them, they'll be remembered and taken care of," said Sgt. Smoot.
In addition to the other awards Tuazon had earned, the Army has posthumously awarded him the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Commendation and Good Conduct medals.