Army Sgt. Kyle W. Childress, 29, Terre Haute, Indiana.
Died January 21, 2005 in Balad, Iraq of injuries suffered after being wounded in a firefight near Ad Duluiyah, Iraq, making him Terre Haute's first casualty of the war. He was a member of 1st Squad, 4th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division based at Schweinfurt, Germany.
"Our sons served in Iraq together," wrote Bernie and Rose Sponsel of Nokomis, Fla. to Kyle's father, Keith, on an online memorial on the Terre Haute Tribune-Star's Web site. "Your son was a great soldier and good friend to all in his unit. Our son Paul spoke of him with the utmost respect and honor. He truly is a hero and will be remembered by his fellow soldiers forever."
Victoria Garcia of Indianapolis sent a photo that showed Childress and her brother Kenneth together in Iraq.
"You have no idea how much Kyle has impacted my family's lives. Even though we didn't know Kyle, we think about him every day. My brother is Sgt. 1st class Kenneth Garcia ... My brother spent many long days and nights with Kyle. My family sees Kyle as my brother's brother because that is what he is to him. They are all family. I just wanted to let your family know how much Kyle
means to us. I thank him for being my brother's family ... I also wanted you all to know that your family doesn't mourn alone in this very hard time," she wrote.
Local veterans already are organizing an effort to include a memorial on the Vigo County Courthouse lawn for the war in Iraq, said Keith, to stand among the memorials to the dead of previous wars.