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Franklin County soldier is killed in Iraq

April 18, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH and DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - A 22-year-old Chambersburg man serving with the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq died Monday of wounds he sustained when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Tuesday.

The Defense Department news release stated that Private 1st Class Aaron M. Genevie was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 4th Calvary Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team at the time of his death. The release stated he died in Baghdad, but did not specify whether the explosion that resulted in his death occurred Monday or earlier.

"We want to mourn in private," said a man who answered the door at the Genevie home. He and a woman at the house declined to be interviewed.

Genevie is the second soldier from Franklin County killed while serving in Iraq. U.S. Army Sgt. Edward W. "Eddie" Shaffer, 23, of Mont Alto, Pa., died Dec. 27, 2006, at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, from injuries he sustained in fighting near Ramadi on Nov. 13, 2006.

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Shaffer, a gunner in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, also was fatally wounded by an improvised explosive device, the Department of Defense said.

Master Sgt. Cameron Porter of the Media Affairs Office in Fort Riley, Kan., said Tuesday night that a more-detailed account of Genevie's military service and the incident that resulted in his death might be released later today.

Porter said two soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division were reported killed in action Monday.

Genevie had a MySpace Web site on which he wrote that he joined the Army in July 2005 and was deployed in February of this year. On it, he also wrote that he enjoyed movies, NASCAR racing, television game shows and reading suspense and military novels.

He wrote that he graduated from McConnellsburg (Pa.) High School in Fulton County in 2003.

"My real hero is my Mom. Yea, I'm a mama's boy," he wrote. "Anyone who can raise me to be the person I am and still have a sense of humor and be the most loving person in the world ... No one else could ever take her place," he wrote.

Also posted on Genevie's Web page is an untitled poem that ends "When the fighting is over and all is well, be thankful that we chose to go through hell."

"I believe in fighting for the right causes," Genevie wrote, "because something bad effected (sic) someone important in my life and things shouldn't be the way they are. Three hundred million people in the United States, and there's no way that people shouldn't do all they can to help people."

Genevie wrote he did not regret joining the Army but said he faced judgment from people based on the mistakes of other soldiers. He referred to those mistakes as "stupid and crazy things that would make most people shutter at the thought of" and asked to be viewed as an individual.

Staff Sgt. Ron Selbe is stationed at Fort Riley with his wife, Aurora, and four children. In response to an e-mail, Aurora Selbe wrote about having Genevie over for Thanksgiving dinner last year.

"Aaron was a beautiful person ... I liked him immediately. He was a very smart guy who loved being a soldier," she wrote. "He always called me Mrs. Selbe whenever we saw him and I insisted that he call me by my first name, but he never did."

"We had the guys over for dinner a few weeks before they left and we talked about having a huge BBQ after they returned from Iraq," she wrote. "My husband, SSG Selbe, and the rest of Bravo troop are very saddened by his death ... He will be greatly missed."

Two members of the armed forces from neighboring Fulton County have died in Iraq since the war began in 2003 - Staff Sgt. Christopher E. Cutchall, who died Sept. 29, 2003, and Lance Cpl. Steven W. Szwydek, killed Oct. 20, 2005, according to military records.

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