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Wisconsin native killed in Iraq
The Associated Press
NEW AUBURN, Wis. — A New Auburn native whose passion was barrel-racing died when an improvised explosive device exploded near her Humvee in Iraq, her mother said Nov. 3.
Army 2nd Lt. Tracy Alger, 30, died Nov. 1, according to her mother Pauline Knutson, of New Auburn.
Alger grew up in New Auburn, went to Chetek High School and then studied graphic design at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
“Serving her country was what she wanted,” Knutson said. “We had a conversation before she left that she might not be coming back, so we spent as much time together as we could.”
Knutson said her daughter started considering the service after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
After college, she worked as a graphic artist and then a certified nursing assistant at a nursing home before signing up for the National Guard.
She moved to Fort Campbell, Ky. within the last year, she said.
Alger was in charge of convoys that transported supplies, her mother said.
“She was a very considerate officer,” Knutson said. “She didn’t have to go on a lot of the convoys, but she wanted to serve alongside her people. She was not a stay-back-at-camp kind of person.”
Knutson said Alger wrote her aunt a letter, which arrived Oct. 28.
“She wrote a letter that they were going into a big mission and they were concerned about it,” she said.
Alger spent many years barrel-racing, a rodeo-like event in which horse and rider are timed as they maneuver around large barrels, she said. Her horse, Tango, is boarded at Knutson’s home.
She was on the rodeo team at River Falls, and before she left she was president of the Wisconsin Girls Barrel Racing Association, Knutson said.
“She was such a good daughter,” Knutson said. “We spent a lot of time together traveling to barrel races. She was my right-hand person. We did everything together.”
Alger’s younger sister, Tanya Leo, served in the Air Force. Tanya’s husband also was in the service, and Knutson was a member of the National Guard.
The family planned to wait for her body to return home before setting up the funeral, she said.
Family and friends were putting up a memorial in her yard Nov. 3 that included a flag pole. She said it was a bright spot in her day.
“She would want that,” she said.
The Defense Department had not released details of her death Nov. 3.