John Thomas Bubeck – Sergeant, United States Army

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U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1321-06

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.  They died of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during combat operations December 25, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq.  They were assigned to the 9th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany.

Killed were:

Sergeant John T. Bubeck, 25, of Collegeville, Sergeant  He later died December 26, 2006
Specialist Aaron L. Preston, 29, of Dallas, Texas
Private First Class Andrew H. Nelson, 19, of Saint Johns, Michigan

Sergeant John T. Bubeck was a man who followed his heart and put others before himself.

More than 100 family members, friends, service men and women, and local and state dignitaries gathered Monday in Augustus Lutheran Church to pay their last respects to the young man who gave his life serving his country.

On December 25, 2006, Sergeant Bubeck, 25, of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, was participating in combat operations in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Sergeant Bubeck, who was assigned to the 9th Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany, before his unit was sent to Iraq, died of his injuries on December 26, 2006.

“John lived the same way he died — following his heart and what he believed in,” Sergeant Bubeck’s childhood friend, Jack Diferdinando told the mourners, including U.S. Representative Jim Gerlach and state Senator John C. Rafferty.

“I know when he went into the military, a lot of us thought it might not be the best move, but John wanted to do it,” Kyle Laverty, another of Sgt. Bubeck’s childhood friends, said.

Both men characterized their friend, who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, as someone who was strong-willed and determined, and above all, a friend, a brother who wanted to leave his footprint on the world.

“John is a friend you could only wish to have and we were all lucky enough to be those friends,” Laverty said. “John definitely wanted to take his life and make a print on this Earth, and that’s exactly what he did. I’m going to be proud to say, forever, that I was John’s friend, and I’m really going to miss him.”

The Rev. Herbert H. Michel said that military life and the family of God have a lot in common.

“It’s all about what we can do for each other,” he said. “It’s not about me, it’s about the guy next to me and the guy next to him.”

Rev. Michel said Sgt. Bubeck exemplified putting the group before the individual during his time in the military.

Brigadier General Jesse R. Cross, the senior representative for the Army at the funeral, spoke of Sergeant Bubeck as a soldier with uncompromising loyalty.

“Serving one’s country is a noble calling,” Cross said. “John chose to be a soldier and faithfully and honorably served (his country). John was a proud soldier.”

“We can never repay your debt,” Cross told Sergeant Bubeck’s mother, Judith, sister, Kathryn, and his brother, James. “John paid the ultimate sacrifice to this nation. His lasting gift to us is our freedom.”

Cross presented Sergeant Bubeck’s mother with the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Global War on Terrorism medal, the Iraqi Campaign medal and the Combat Action medal.

After the funeral service, members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group of men and women who stand in honor for fallen soldiers and who stood holding American flags in the rain throughout Sergeant Bubeck’s funeral service, recognized Sergeant Bubeck’s family.

“Ladies and gentleman, the mother of an American hero,” one member said of Sergeant Bubeck’s mother. Those in attendance saluted in unison.

Sergeant Bubeck will be buried at 2 p.m. today in Arlington Nation Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Memorial contributions may be made in Sgt. Bubeck’s name to Augustus Lutheran Church, 717 W. Main St., Trappe, Pennsylvania 19426; or to C.A.U.S.E., P.O. Box 218, Herndon, Virignia 20172 (Comfort for America’s Uniformed Services Elite, which assists soldiers recuperating from wounds and injuries suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan).

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An Army honor guard carries the casket of Sergeant John T. Bubeck, during funeral services
at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington January 9, 2007

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Judith Bubeck, right, listens to the sound of the three volleys fired by the Firing Party during funeral services
for her son, Sergeant John T. Bubeck, at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, January 9, 2007

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An Army bugler plays Taps during funeral services for Sergeant John T. Bubeck at Arlington
National Cemetery in Arlington Tuesday, January 9, 2007

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Major General Ronald Johnson, left, presents Judith Bubeck with the flag from the casket of her
son, Sergeant John T. Bubeck during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, January 9, 2007

BUBECK, JOHN THOMAS
SGT   US ARMY

  • DATE OF BIRTH: 02/16/1981
  • DATE OF DEATH: 12/26/2006
  • BURIED AT: SECTION 60  SITE 8509
  • ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

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