Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Steven J. Walberg dies from 'wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire'

The Paradise Post has learned a Paradise man died in combat while in Iraq this weekend.

This is the first Paradise soldier to die since the beginning of the war.

The family of Steven Walberg-Riotto, 18, was notified of his death during the weekend, though it has yet to be released how he died.

Tammy Riotto, Steven's aunt, said the family heard of Steven's death from a fellow soldier in Iraq who was there at the time.

"(Steven) was doing what he was supposed to do and he kept others from getting hurt," Riotto said. "They stressed that we should be very proud of him, and that goes without saying."

A funeral has not yet been scheduled and the family is working on getting Steven home to Paradise.

Riotto said it could take a week to 10 days to get him home from Iraq, but he will have a full military escort from the airport to the funeral home of the family's choice.

Steven joined the Army when he turned 18 and was in boot camp on his 18th birthday, Riotto said.

"He has wanted this his whole life," she said. "He was doing what he knew he needed to do."

Steven was home to visit his family on Christmas and was deployed to Iraq in January.

From the Paradise Post