NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 245-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2007
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.They died March 2, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle while on combat patrol.They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
Staff Sergeant Paul M. Latourney, 28, of Roselle, Illinois
Specialist Luis O. Rodriguez-Contrera, 22, of Allentown, Pennsylvania
For further information in regard to this release the media can contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at (254) 287-9993
Military brat dies doing what he wanted to do
Lake Park graduate killed in Iraq
By Kat Zeman
Courtesy of the Daily Herald
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
It was in his blood. He’d been born a soldier.
Those who knew him well said Paul LaTourney lived to serve his country.
He grew up on military bases, learned to speak four languages and never doubted that one day he’d be a soldier.
By the time he graduated from Lake Park High School in Roselle, he’d already survived boot camp and joined the Army reserves.
“He wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s what he loved to do,” said Travis Nebel, who had been friends with LaTourney since childhood. “It’s what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.”
That wish came true, but it ended much too early. Army Staff Sergeant Paul M. Latourney, 28, was killed Friday in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle while on combat patrol.
“He was one of the most decent human beings in the world,” said Nebel, of Roselle. “I know that if there’s a heaven he’s definitely there.“
LaTourney, who graduated from Lake Park in 1997, was with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas. He was born in Atlanta and then grew up at a military base in Germany where his father worked. The family moved to Roselle around the time he entered high school. Last year, they moved to Texas.
At Lake Park, LaTourney made the honor roll and belonged to the school’s ski club, German club and the cross country team.
“He was a very good kid,” said Andy Livingston, LaTourney’s German teacher in high school. “A quiet kid, but strong in character. … He had very good language skills.”
By the time of his death, LaTourney had been fluent in English, Spanish and German, and spoke decent French.
He enlisted in the Army full-time immediately after high school. During his career, he’d traveled all over the world including Saudi Arabia, Germany and several times to Iraq.
He will be buried March 14, 2007, at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington.
“It’s tough. He was a great guy,” said Erica Paveza, who befriended LaTourney about four years ago. “I’m not sure if he believed in what he was fighting for, but he did it anyway. It was his job.”
LaTourney’s friends describe him as a kind and honest person who would offer a stranger his last penny if needed and who read every single Star Wars book and saw every movie.
“He said he even had sympathy for the people over there (in Iraq),” Nebel said. “I said, ‘Are you kidding me? These people are trying to kill you.’”
During his military career, he’d been decorated with nearly a dozen medals and ribbons. They include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism (Expeditionary) Medal, Global War on Terrorism (Service) Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon and the Army Service Ribbon.
LaTourney left behind a young son named Isaiah, who friends said is around 4 or 5 years old now and lives with his grandparents in Texas. His family couldn’t be reached Monday, but his friends said LaTourney will be remembered as a hero.
“He wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Paveza said. “He was put on this earth to be a soldier.”
The casket of Staff Sergeant Paul Latourney is carried by an honor guard during funeral services
at Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The casket of Staff Sergeant Paul Latourney is carried by an honor guard during funeral services at
Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The casket of Staff Sergeant Paul Latourney is placed down by an honor guard during funeral services at
Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday, March 14, 2007.
Major General Michael Symanski, left, presents an American flag that draped the casket of Staff Sergeant
Paul Latourney to his widow Jessica, during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery
LATOURNEY, PAUL MIGUEL
SSG US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 06/11/1978
DATE OF DEATH: 03/02/2007
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8503
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard