Wednesday, May 10, 2006

George Roehl Jr. was 21 -- MANCHESTER, N.H. --A 21-year-old soldier described as a father figure to his four younger siblings was killed Monday in Iraq by a roadside bomb.

Army Pvt. George Roehl Jr. lived in Manchester with is mother and four siblings, and attended Franklin High School in his late teens, relatives said. He had been in Iraq for about five months and was a cavalry scout who rode at the front of convoys, according to his mother, Betty Vezina.

"It's every mother's worst nightmare, to come home and find the Army standing in your driveway," she said Tuesday. "As soon as you see it you know what it is. They're not here to tell you anything good."

She said her son, whom she last talked with about three weeks ago, was concerned about whether he would make it home.

"He said, 'Mom, they shoot at me every day.' ... He knew what he was getting into and he paid the ultimate sacrifice to fight for somebody else's freedom," she said.

He joined the military about a year ago, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and a cousin, family members said. His sister Sarah had tried to talk him out of it.

"I was like, `Don't go,'" she said. "Is it really worth it?"

The family said Roehl was one of two soldiers killed during a patrol outside Baghdad.

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