Valley Honors Soldier Killed In Iraq

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(Turlock, CA)
Thursday, November 10, 2005

As the military paid tribute to Captain Hill with a traditional 21 gun salute, about one thousand people gathered around the flag-draped coffin at Lakewood Memorial in Stanislaus County.

Hill, a former track star at Ceres High School was an 18-year veteran of a California National unit based in Modesto. He arrived in Iraq in February.

The 39-year-old soldier died October 29th when the Humvee he was riding in was hit by a roadside bomb. He was on a special mission that day according to Ron Hill one of three younger brothers.

"On this mission that he was out on, he was out to deliver school supplies to children. One of the soldiers who wrote to us said that charred backpacks and pencils were all over the road, because that's where he was going."

At the funeral Brigadier General James Combs called Hill the ultimate citizen-soldier. He pointed out that the married father of two young daughters volunteered for duty in Iraq.  

"He was enthusiastically desirous of going and making a contribution. This is what's unique about these citizen-soldiers, they want to step forward. In fact his unit itself was not deploying, he ask to deploy to the unit over there."

All who eulogized Captain Hill noted his devotion to his family and friends, and his love of children. One friend said he couldn't recall receiving a picture of Hill from Iraq that didn't include some smiling kids.