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Minnesota National Guard
Honoring our Fallen Soldiers: Sgt. Nicholas Turcotte Task Force WILD

LSA ADDER, Iraq " A memorial service for Sgt Nicholas D Turcotte was held Dec 9 at the Post Chapel, where several hundred Soldiers gathered to pay their last respects

Turcotte, a native of Maple Grove, Minn, died five days earlier near Nasiriyah due to injuries suffered in a vehicle accident He was 23 He had been assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry, where he conducted radio relay point and convoy escort team operations for the unit

The service began with a video slide show, featuring photos of Turcotte during both stateside training prior to his unit's deployment and his Iraq-based missions Following the presentation, the invocation was given by Chap (Maj) Jerome Fehn, and Sgt Aeren Nauman read aloud the Infantryman's Creed

Spc Tyler Pinska, Turcotte's roommate, was the first of three Soldiers who delivered tributes to their fallen comrade Pinska spoke in high praise of his friend's dedication to his job and his many achievements since arriving here

"Sgt Turcotte was one of the most knowledgeable Soldiers I have ever met,"�said Pinska "When it came mission time, nothing could stop him"� "He was amazing in everything he did,"� continued Pinska "He tried so hard to be the best of the best To tell you the truth, he was the best " the best friend, the best roommate, the best Soldier I have ever known I'll miss you, Nick"�

Spc Christopher Giesking, who was Turcotte's bunk mate while their unit was training at Camp Shelby, Miss, said it was a great honor to speak at the memorial He called Turcotte "a great Soldier"� and said he "took pride in being an infantry Soldier, always wanting to go further with his military career"�

"Turcotte had the biggest heart, and maybe that's what separated him from most " his heart to try, no matter what the goal was,"�said Giesking

Concluding the tributes from friends was Sgt Christopher Siebenaler, who remembered Turcotte as a constant professional and noted his ability to brighten anyone's day by making them smile or laugh

"Turcotte was a man filled with potential,"�said Siebenaler "He was the guy you knew you could count on He rose to any task When he got pushed, he soared"�

Capt Anton J Dittrich, Turcotte's company commander, also spoke during the service, saying Turcotte was "a wonderful man, a dedicated Soldier and a loyal friend"�

"During the course of our [unit's] time together, Sgt Turcotte never faltered in his desire to improve himself, his team and his squad,"�said Dittrich "He pushed himself beyond expectations in both mind and body His presence made an indelible mark upon our company We certainly mourn his loss but will celebrate his contributions and spirit far longer"�

Following their speeches and closing remarks from Fehn, each of the Soldiers saluted a memorial to Turcotte, consisting of a rifle strung with his identification tags and topped with a Kevlar helmet Below the rifle sat a pair of boots and an empty ammunition box where keepsakes could be placed

A Company's 1st Sgt Jason R Schweitzer conducted the last roll call, which was followed by a 21-shot volley and the playing of Taps This ended the formal portion of the service Afterward, attendees were able to go on stage and pay their final respects

Turcotte enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard in June 2004 as an infantryman Upon completion of advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Ga, he was assigned to Co A, 2-135th Inf Bn

He is survived by his wife Jennifer Ann, his mother Deborah K Moore and his father Mark Peterson

By Spc Dustin Perry

Sgt. Nicholas D. Turcotte

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