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Maui victim had been in Iraq 3 months


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POSTED: Thursday, February 12, 2009

The 1999 Maui High School graduate who was killed in Kirkush, Iraq Friday had been in the country nearly three months.;Spc. Christopher P. Sweet

The Pentagon reported that Spc. Christopher P. Sweet, 28, of Kahului, died in a non-combat incident at a training base for the Iraqi Army northeast of Baghdad, but provided no details. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation, a Pentagon news release said.

Sweet was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, stationed at Grafenwoehr in Germany which had deployed to Iraq for a year.

A memorial ceremony to honor Sweet will be held at Tuesday at the Grafenwoehr Chapel.

Sweet enlisted in Army in 2006. His first assignment was South Korea as a truck driver with the 602nd Aviation Support Battalion.

Capt. Justin Wegner, 172nd rear detachment executive officer, said the death is the first suffered by the unit since it deployed to Iraq in late November, according to European editions of Stars and Stripes.

A statement released by Sweet's command in Germany described him as “;a quality soldier.”;

“;His presence will be missed by all soldiers of the Task Force Black Knights. His dedication to his duty, to his family and to his faith were an inspiration to us all. His love for country and friends were a model for all of us to follow,”; the statement said.

The Army said he is survived by mother, Christina; father, Peter; and brother, Kyle.

The Maui News said his family moved to Germany three years ago to be near Sweet.

Sweet is the fourth Maui man killed while serving in Iraq.

The first was Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Bolor, 38, who was killed in a helicopter crash Nov. 15, 2003. On April 6, 2007, Spec. Jay Cajimat, 20, of Lahaina, died when a roadside bomb exploded near his unit; and Pvt. Eugene D.M. Kanakaole, 19, of Kihei, died in a non-combat incident in Balad, on June 11, 2008.