Thursday, February 15, 2007

Russell A. Kurtz dies of injuries from I.E.D.

BETHEL PARK, Pa.- An Alaska-based soldier from western Pennsylvania was killed in an explosion in Iraq, his family said Monday.

Sgt. Russell Kurtz, of Bethel Park, Pa., who turned 22 last month, was a passenger in a Humvee that hit an improvised explosive device at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, said his mother, Jill Kurtz. Military authorities said they could not immediately confirm the death.

"He was doing what he wanted to be doing," she said.

Russell Kurtz was interested in military history from an early age and enlisted as a senior in high school, although he had been accepted at colleges.

Jill Kurtz said her son "decided that he had to do something; he didn't want others over there fighting and dying without him being willing to do the same, and we supported him."

Russell Kurtz played football and baseball in school and loved the outdoors, his mother said.

"He was stationed up in Alaska, and loved it up there - the skiing and the hunting and the fishing and the mountains and all that," she said.

Kurtz said her son went through airborne training and was part of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry. He was stationed at Fort Richardson in Alaska and sent to Iraq in October.

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