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Jon-Erik Loney, 21, was killed when a bomb exploded near his vehicle in Hit, Iraq, on Nov. 28.
Courtesy photo
Jon-Erik Loney, 21, was killed when a bomb exploded near his vehicle in Hit, Iraq, on Nov. 28.

Memorial held in Iraq for fallen Hartselle soldier
Funeral for Army Cpl. Jon-Erik Loney scheduled today at Bible Baptist Church in Hartselle

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

A Hartselle soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq will be missed on both sides of the globe.

Funeral for Cpl. Jon-Erik Loney, 21, will be at Bible Baptist Church in Hartselle this afternoon. U.S. service members with whom Loney served held a memorial service in Hit, Iraq, on Sunday.

According to a Marine Corps article, "dozens of soldiers and Marines crammed inside one of the buildings of a run-down train station turned U.S. military post on the city's edge to pay a final tribute to Loney. Soldiers took turns speaking, recalling Loney as a 'good man' and a 'kind-hearted' person."

Loney, a member of the Army's 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, died Nov. 28 when an IED (improvised explosive device) went off near his military vehicle.

"One thing I remember him telling me is that no matter what, he was going to finish his time in the Army because he never finished anything in his life," said Pfc. Phillip Scott, who said Loney was the first person to welcome Scott into the unit. "And he did by paying the ultimate sacrifice."

During the 30-minute ceremony, Loney was represented by a Kevlar helmet set atop a rifle, stuck bayonet-first into a wooden pedestal and adorned with his dog tags, combat boots and a folded American flag. His portrait was set at the base of the pedestal.

A 21-gun salute was followed by the playing of "Taps."

Today's funeral will be at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Glen Swaggerty and the Rev. Harold Swaggerty officiating and Peck Funeral Home directing. The body will be at the church one hour before the service.

Oak Ridge Cemetery

Burial will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery with full military honors.

Loney is the seventh U.S. service member killed during combat operations in Hit since his regiment arrived in January.

An Army sergeant from Livingston, killed by a roadside bomb, was the third Iraq casualty from Alabama last week.

Staff Sgt. Robert L. Love's death Dec. 1 and the deaths of Loney and Spc. Christopher Mason, 32, of Mobile, who died in a separate bombing Nov. 28, brought the number of Alabamians killed in Iraq and the war on terror to at least 73, based on an unofficial count.

Lt. Col. Robert Horton, an Alabama Guard spokesman, has been keeping track of deaths from all branches of the military since Sept. 11, 2001.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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