Baroncini, Lester D. Jr, SGT

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
2006-2006, 11B10, HHC, 82nd Airborne Division
Service Years
2004 - 2006
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
Order of Saint Michael


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SGT Phillip Hanners (GA) to remember Baroncini, Lester D. Jr, SGT.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Oct 15, 2006
Hostile, Died
Other Explosive Device
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

82nd Airbone Division Infantry Shoulder Cord

 Unofficial Badges 

Airborne Order of Saint Michael (Silver)

 Military Association Memberships
Military Order of the Purple Heart505th Panther Association82nd Airborne Division AssociationCombat Infantrymen's Association
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)
  2006, Military Order of the Purple Heart [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2006, 505th Panther Association [Verified]
  2006, 82nd Airborne Division Association [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2006, Combat Infantrymen's Association [Verified]
  2006, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Parachutist (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
2nd Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment (Airborne)82nd Airborne Division
  2006-2006, 11B10, HHC, 2nd Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment (Airborne)
  2006-2006, 11B10, HHC, 82nd Airborne Division
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Soldiers killed near Samarra often thought about home


Ben Murray / S&S
Soldiers at a Thursday memorial for Sgt. Lester Baroncini and Pfc. Stephen Bicknell from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division salute while taps play for the two men, who were killed when their truck struck an antitank mine Monday near Samarra, Iraq. Purchase reprint
Ben Murray / S&S
Sgt. Lester Baroncini and Pfc. Stephen Bicknell are honored at a memorial ceremony Thursday at Forward Operating Base Brassfield-Mora. Purchase reprint
Ben Murray / S&S
Col. Bryan Owens, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, pays his respects Thursday at the memorial ceremony for Sgt. Lester Baroncini and Pfc. Stephen Bicknell. Purchase reprint

FORWARD OPERATING BASE BRASSFIELD-MORA, Iraq — They were a pair of men who represented the broad canvas of soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division working in Iraq.

One was a fresh, 19-year-old private with a wife, a child on the way and less than a year of experience in the Army. The other was a 33-year-old Californian with a serious gun collecting hobby who joined the force in the fall of 2003.

On Thursday, scores of friends and fellow soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment gathered on a sun-bleached helipad on the small U.S. base near Samarra to remember the two men.

Pfc. Stephen Bicknell and Sgt. Lester Baroncini were killed Monday when their Humvee ran over an anti-tank mine on a road near Samarra. Both were members of Company A, 2-505, based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

When it came to recalling things they remembered most about Baroncini on Monday, soldiers invariably mentioned the Bakersfield, Calif.-native’s love of firearms.

“His favorite gun was the AK-47, I can tell you that,” said Pfc. Corey Maisch, Baroncini’s former roommate and close friend. “All he talked about was his AKs back home.”

Soldiers said they estimated the sergeant’s firearms collection to be in the dozens at least, but did that make him a gun nut?

“That doesn’t begin to describe it,” said Spc. Thomas Livesay, smiling.

Maisch agreed.

“If it had a firing pin in it, he knew it,” he said.

Beyond his hobby, soldiers said Baroncini was always up for a joke.

“We always just kind of hung around and laughed,” Maisch said.

But the sergeant’s thoughts were often of home.

“He loved the ranch back home,” Maisch said.

Fewer soldiers knew Bicknell as closely, because the young Las Vegas native had just joined the unit in June, only two months before the battalion deployed to Samarra.

Livesay, who worked frequently with Bicknell, said the 19-year-old often talked about two favorite topics: his wife back home and sports.

“Dude loved football more than anything else in the world, I think,” Livesay said. A stocky kid of average height, Bicknell had an ambition to play football in Alabama when he got back home.

That would make him “the only 5-foot-9 quarterback” in the league, and Livesay joked that he wouldn’t be able to see over the line to throw the ball.

“No slants over the middle for him,” he said.

Livesay said the private was also famously proud of the shotgun he carried and was itching to use it as a door-opening device on raids rather than his foot.

“He was all about his shotgun,” Livesay said.

Others remembered Bicknell’s boundless work ethic and attention to detail when working on the Humvee he rode in.

“He wanted that truck to be as good as it could be,” said Company A commander Jaime Uptigraft.

Livesay said Bicknell joined the Army because he wanted to be a soldier — not just because he wanted a job.

“He did it for a reason, it wasn’t just an escape,” he said.

The two men were the first fatalities for the battalion since it took over operations in Samarra in August on its second deployment to Iraq. The city was the scene of the infamous Golden Mosque bombing in February that sparked a tide of sectarian violence between Sunni

COMPANY A, 2D BATTALION, 505TH INFANTRY, FORT BRAGG, NC LOCATION:SAMARRA, IRAQ                                                  Profile By SGT P.M Hanners
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