February 9, 1996
Web posted at: 8:50 p.m. EST
BUEDINGEN, Germany (CNN) -- A memorial service was held Friday for the first U.S. serviceman killed in the Bosnian peacekeeping mission.
More than 250 friends and family of Sgt. 1st Class Donald A. Dugan gathered in Buedingen, Germany, to say their farewells to the man who died doing what he like best, serving his country in the Army.
The felled soldier's name was called out three times, each time louder, a question. And at the final "Sgt. 1st Class Dugan?" a quiet voice responded, "Sgt. 1st Class Donald Dugan is absent, sir."
Dugan's widow, Miriam, and their two daughters, Dixie, 8, and Beverly, 11, sat quietly in the front row during ceremony at U.S. Army barracks in Buedingen, about 35 miles northeast of Frankfurt.
Dugan, who led a scout platoon of about 30 men, was praised for his leadership skills by superiors. "He was the kind of leader that every young soldier wanted to have," said Staff Sgt. Gabriel Diaz.
In a written statement, his widow spoke eloquently of her husband. "To lose such a wonderful husband and father from our life is a great tragedy. Donald meant so much to the children and me, and to all the people he came in contact with. We will miss him and the love and joy in life he so freely shared with all of us," Miriam Dugan wrote.
Dugan, 38 from Ridgeway, Ohio, was killed Sunday, February 3, in northeast Bosnia while apparently attempting to disarm a land mine.
At the close of the hour-long ceremony, there was a final roll call for Dugan's platoon. The felled soldier's name was called out three times, each time louder, a question. And at the final "Sgt. 1st Class Dugan?" a quiet voice responded, "Sgt. 1st Class Donald Dugan is absent, sir."
AP contributed to this report.
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