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NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Army Sgt. Jeremy Knight, a chaplain’s assistant from Wichita, Kan., (left) and Army Chaplain (Capt.) Robert Miller, a chaplain from Horseheads, N.Y., both of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1-61 Cav., pay their final respects to fallen Soldiers Army Spc. David C. Lutes and Army Spc. Anthony Vargas, both of Troop C, 1-61 Cav., during a memorial ceremony Nov. 18 at Forward Operating Base Connolly. Both Lutes and Vargas were killed as a result of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device while on patrol in a convoy Nov. 8 in the village of Wazir, Afghanistan. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Bastogne Public Affairs)

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Troop C, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, paid last respects to two of their fallen Soldiers during a memorial ceremony Nov. 18 at Forward Operating Base Connolly.

Army Spc. Anthony Vargas, a radio telephone operator from Reading, Pa., and Army Spc. David C. Lutes, an infantryman from Westernport, Md., both died as the result of injuries suffered after an improvised explosive device while on patrol in a convoy Nov. 8 in the village of Wazir, Afghanistan.

Army Lt. Col. William B. Johnson, 1-61 Cav. commander and Task Force Panther, was the ceremony’s first speaker.

“When I spoke with Bobbi Lutes and Louisa Vargas about the loss of their respective husbands, what resonated from them both was a concern for you, their husband’s fellow Soldiers and comrades in arms,” said Johnson, a native of Clarksville, Tenn.

“Were they here, I think the message for you would be straightforward: keep the faith, take care of each other, and continue to take the fight to the enemy,” Johnson said. “Their concern for you, for all of us, was most humbling and a true testament to them, their faith and spirit.”

Johnson also gave guests in attendance some basic background on both Soldiers. Both Soldiers were married with children, and were veterans of more than 50 combat missions. This was Lutes’ second deployment to Afghanistan with the 101st Abn. Div. out of Fort Campbell, Ky.

A more personal look at both Soldiers was offered by their friends and fellow Soldiers in the troop, Army Spc. Jason Pehle, an infantryman from Union, Mo., and Army Spc. Michael Swift, an infantryman from Clark Mills, N.Y.

“If you asked anyone in our platoon to describe David Lutes, they’d all tell you three things,” Pehle said. “He loved his coffee, he loved his butterfly knife and he was always willing to help you.”

He said that his friend was a complex individual who had a gruff exterior, but a very kind heart.

“He kept three of everything, and I mean everything, just in case someone was missing something. Anytime someone asked him for help, you would always hear a fair amount of his brand of disgruntled cussing, despite that he would always help out no matter who it was,” Pehle said.

He said that Lutes read the Bible and had gone to college for chemistry and bio-engineering and “you were as likely to find him debating how medicine and genes worked as you were to hear him explaining the complete storyline of Tekken games.”

Swift followed Pehle with his recollections of his friend Vargas.

“Anthony was a loving husband, father and best friend,” Swift said. “He was always supportive of his friends and would help you out in any way he could. He loved his platoon and greatly admired his leaders.”

“He loved his protein, and was a hard worker and a great Soldier. Those of you who knew him well know that he was a good person, one of the best. He was a private person and enjoyed spending time with his family.”

Army Chaplain (Capt.) Robert Miller, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1-61 Cav., offered a little more insight on the Soldiers before reading the benediction.

“(Vargas) loved his battle buddies and noncommissioned officers as much as he loved physical training and Adobo spice,” Miller said.

Following the benediction, the ceremony concluded in military tradition, with Troop C’s first sergeant, U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Anthony Barnes, of Eden, N.C., calling the last roll call. The guests, made up mostly of cavalry Soldiers were welling with emotion as they heard the first sergeant yell out the familiar names of their friends and fellow Soldiers with no response. The firing squad fired three shots in salute of each fallen Soldier and Army Spc. Stuart McClaren, an infantryman from Dumfries, Scotland, also from Troop C, played “Taps,” on his bugle, ending the ceremony.

Both Soldiers’ decorations include the following: the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Army Commendation Medal (all awarded posthumously to both Soldiers.) The Soldiers also have received the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge (awarded posthumously to Vargas.)

Lutes is survived by his wife Bobbi Jean and daughters Kya Margaret and Kaitlyn Elise. He is the son of Delia J. Ahern of Westernport, Md.

Vargas is survived by his wife Louisa Lane Vargas, sons Nathaniel Seth and Lucas Anthony and daughter Olivia Lane. He is the son of Maria and Julio Vargas.

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Davis Jr. (left) of Conyers, Ga., Army Sgt. 1st Class John Smith0 Jr. (center) of Moberly, Mo., and Army. 1st Lt. Michael Conforti, (right) of Victorville, Calif., all infantrymen with Troop C, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, pay their final respects to fallen Soldiers Army Spc. David C. Lutes and Army Spc. Anthony Vargas, also of Troop C, during a memorial ceremony Nov. 18 at Forward Operating Base Connolly. Both Lutes and Vargas were killed as a result of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device while on patrol in a convoy Nov. 8 in the village of Wazir, Afghanistan. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Bastogne Public Affairs)NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The memorial display honors fallen Soldiers Army Spc. David C. Lutes and Army Spc. Anthony Vargas, both of Troop C, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, Nov. 18 at Forward Operating Base Connolly. Both Lutes and Vargas were killed as a result of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device while on patrol in a convoy Nov. 8 in the village of Wazir, Afghanistan. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Bastogne Public Affairs)NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Army Spc. Jason Pehle (left), an infantryman from Union, Mo., comforts Army Spc. Juan Alvarez-Rivera, an infantryman from Knoxville, Tenn., as he touches the dog tags and pays his final respects to his friend, Army Spc. David C. Lutes, all of 3rd Platoon, Troop C, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment. Troop C held a memorial ceremony for Lutes and Army Spc. Anthony Vargas Nov. 18 at Forward Operating Base Connolly. Both of the unit's Soldiers were killed as a result of injuries incurred from an improvised explosive device while in a convoy Nov. 8 in the village of Wazir, Afghanistan. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Matson, Task Force Bastogne Public Affairs)

Last Updated on Friday, 19 November 2010 16:00
 

    

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