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10th Mountain Honors Two Lost Soldiers
By Jason Chudy
Stars and Stripes
European Edition

March 29, 2004,

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Two 10th Mountain Division soldiers were honored Friday for fulfilling the 22nd Infantry Regiment's motto: "Deeds Not Words."

Staff Sgt. Anthony S. Lagman, 26, and Sgt. Michael J. Esposito, Jr., 22, of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, were remembered for their deeds when they were killed while leading other 2-22 soldiers against anti-coalition fighters in the village of Miam Do on March 18.

"Despite their young ages, we know they had a huge impact on others' lives because of their strong characters," said Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Stewart, during a memorial service at the Kandahar's Freedom Chapel.

"It's not the numbers of years they lived, but the number of lives impacted by their characters," Stewart said. "Each has lived a lifetime."

The small wooden chapel was filled to capacity. Outside, a few hundred other soldiers stood in ranks. So many soldiers attended, in fact, officials had to block an adjacent two-lane dirt road.

Standing alongside their American counterparts were dozens of Romanian soldiers of the 280th Infantry Battalion.

During the service, company commander Capt. Jorge Cordeiro spoke of his soldiers as vital members of the unit, telling how Lagman, who served three years in the Marine Corps, "died much as he lived, validating his role as a leader."

He talked about Esposito's first firefight, when he told fellow soldiers it was "one of the proudest moments of his life, to fight for his country."

Fellow soldiers told not only about their soldiering, but about their spirits.

Staff Sgt. Adam Arabian choked back tears as he told how his and Lagman's careers had frequently crossed paths. He considered Lagman "an older brother" because of his leadership and friendship.

"On March 18, we lost a good friend," Arabian said. "I strive every day to be half the leader he was."

Sgt. Cordell Musselman told of Esposito's love for hockey, love of family and love of his fiancée, whom he planned to marry in July.

Esposito, he said, was the kind of guy who could give "dissertations on spaghetti sauce and Pink Floyd."

Lagman, Esposito and an Afghan National Army soldier were killed by enemy troops during a firefight in Miam Do. Coalition soldiers later found more than one ton of weapons and ammunition and Taliban literature in the village.

For their actions that day, Lagman and Esposito were awarded the Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for valor.

Both were natives of New York.

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This article is provided courtesy of Stars & Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East.

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Copyright 2004 Stars & Stripes. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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