Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Robert D. Varga dies 'of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident'

Spc. Robert D. Varga joined the military in 2003 at the same time as two of his brothers-in-law.

"We're a military family," said his mother, Cecilia Varga, of Monroe City, Mo.

"The boys wanted to do their duty and try to further their education," she said. "His father served in Vietnam and his grandfather in World War II. His brothers-in-law served in Iraq."

Varga, 24, was one of two Fort Carson soldiers killed in Iraq this week.

The other was Pfc. Christopher David Kube, 18, of Sterling Heights, Mich., who died July 14 in Baghdad when his mounted patrol struck an IED.

Varga, a member of the 759th Military Police Battalion, 984th Military Police Company, died on July 15 from injuries received during a noncombat-related incident in Baghdad. The incident is being investigated.

Varga was born in Denver, but grew up in Laramie, where his parents moved in 1981. The family moved again in 1998 to Monroe City to be closer to other relatives. There, Varga joined the Job Corps and graduated from Excelsior High School in 2001.

He worked at the Intermet factory, which made auto parts, before he joined the Army in 2003. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 759th Military Police Battalion, which was based at Fort Carson. He was deployed as a cook to Iraq in January 2004.

"He loved to cook, but he wasn't crazy about the Army way of cooking," said his mother, who added that Varga was taking culinary arts classes before he joined the military.

"He liked to do a lot of marinades, and he was good at it. He could barbecue, and it was neat to have him come home and take over for me," she said.

After he returned from his first tour in Iraq in 2005, Varga decided to switch and train for the military police when he re-enlisted.

"He was trying to get his ducks in a row and figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life," said Cecilia Varga. "He thought an MP would give him different opportunities in careers if he chose not to be in the military."

Varga was assigned to the 984th Military Police Company in October 2005. He married Ellie Stone, whom he met while he was in the military, last September - the same month his unit was deployed to Iraq.

"Once he got the MP part of it, he really enjoyed it and loved it," his mother said. "It kept him strong and focused."

The last time he saw his family was in May, when he came home on leave. "He was very upbeat," she said. "He was proud to be an American soldier and he believed in doing his duty."

Family members say he was an outgoing, friendly man who loved to cook and draw. "He was upbeat most of the time," his mother said. "If you were in a bad mood, he would do something crazy to make you laugh."

Although his family doesn't know the circumstances of his death, they want to let everyone know that his death was not in vain.

"He would want the country and the media to support all the branches of the military and to give the people who fight for our freedom the respect and support that they desperately need," Varga's mother said.

In addition to his mother, Varga is survived by his wife, Ellie Varga, of Little Rock, Ark.; his father, Frank Varga, of Monroe City; three sisters, Carey Noland and Mandy Reimann, both of Monroe City, and Pamela Pelker, of Mexico, Mo.; maternal grandmother, Margaret Varga, of Monroe City; and maternal grandparents, Glen and Charlotte Little, of Monroe City.

Kube, the other Fort Carson soldier killed this week, had joined the military in 2005 and was assigned in 2006 to the 2nd Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Combat Team, which was deployed last October to Iraq.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal and the Global War on Terror Service Medal.

From the Rocky Mountain News