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Sgt. Conrad Alvarez, 22, who has ties to Big Spring and Roscoe, was one of three soldiers who died Wednesday in Baghdad after their vehicle was hit by a bomb, the Department of Defense announced Friday afternoon.
The other two soldiers were Cpl. Albert Bitton, 20, of Chicago, Ill., and Spc. Micheal B. Matlock Jr., 21, of Glen Burnie, Md. The men were members of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.
A memorial service for the fallen soldiers will be held in Iraq. Alvarez's body has been flown back to the United States for funeral services, said family spokesman the Rev. Joel Miller of Big Spring. He said he did not have funeral details yet.
Alvarez was the second Roscoe High School graduate to die in Iraq recently. Last month, Army Staff Sgt. Wayne Jeffries, 37, was killed after his convoy was hit by a bomb.
Alvarez was an infantryman assigned to A Co., 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. He entered the Army in March 2005 and arrived at Fort Campbell in August 2005.
He is survived by his wife, Maria, of Oak Grove, Ky.; daughters, Celeste and Alyssa, of Sweetwater; father, Arthur, whose address is unknown; and mother, Belinda Garcia, of Big Spring, according to the Fort Campbell news release.
Relatives could not be reached for comment Friday.
Miller said the family was in shock after learning of Alvarez's death Wednesday morning from Army officials. He said the family has already lost one relative to the war. Alvarez's sister, Christina, was married to Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, a buddy from his platoon who was abducted and decapitated by al-Qaida in 2006 in Iraq.
Alvarez's awards and decorations include: Army Commendation Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Iraqi Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Combat Infantry Badge; and Weapons Qualification, M4, expert.
Alvarez attended Roscoe High School, where he played football and was "one of the best punt returners I've ever seen," said Wes Williams, the high school's athletic director. He said Alvarez was an outgoing person who regularly stayed in touch after he graduated in November 2003.
Alvarez graduated from the Hobbs alternative high school, in which several school districts, including Roscoe, participated.
Roscoe High School Principal Frank Young remembers Alvarez as a "good guy" who had some problems, which led him to the alternative high school, but that he turned his life around.
Williams said Alvarez was the kind of person people would meet and like immediately.
"I always looked forward to having him come by because he was such a very magnetic personality," he said. "... He always had such a great heart."
The two kept in touch by e-mail, and Alvarez enjoyed keeping up with the Plowboys football team. The two visited in person between the soldier's tours of duty to Iraq.
"He was proud to serve," Williams said.
Alvarez called him just before he left on his latest tour to Iraq. Williams said his spirits were high, and he talked of becoming a military recruiter.
Williams was notified by a relative of his death Wednesday.
"That news hurt pretty bad," he said, adding, "I was sure proud of that kid. He had really done well in the military."