Army Staff Sgt. Mark A. Lawton, 41, Hayden, Colo (formerly of Elkhart, Indiana)
Lawton was in a convoy that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade north of As Suaydat, Iraq. Lawton was assigned to the 244th Engineer Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve, Grand Junction, Colorado. Died on August 29, 2003.
Lawton had volunteered for duty in Iraq, even though he was scheduled for an Army school that would have kept him stateside.
"His desire was that he could share his combat experience with younger, less experienced troops and make sure that each of his boys came home in one piece," Lawton's family said.
He is survived by his wife, Sherri, and two sons.
Lawton, who grew up in Elkhart, had served in both the Army and the Marines and was a Gulf War veteran, said Capt. Curtis Carney of the U.S. Army Reserve in Denver.
"Mark died on Aug. 29, 14 days before our fifth wedding anniversary," Sherri Lawton wrote in a letter read at her husband's funeral. "That was the day my world stopped spinning. Mark was my best friend."