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(Photo courtesy Dick O'Donnell)
Army Cpl. Steven R. Koch, 23, of Milltown, N.J.

Cpl. Koch was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; killed March 3, 2008 in the Sabari District of Afghanistan of wounds sustained during combat operations. Also killed was Sgt. Robert T. Rapp.

A 23-year-old soldier from New Jersey scheduled to return home next month was killed in Afghanistan, military officials and family members said tonight.

Army Cpl. Steven R. Koch, 23, of Milltown in Middlesex County, died Monday in the Sabari District of Afghanistan of wounds suffered during combat operations, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

"My husband and I are very proud of our son," said his mother, Christine Koch, during a brief phone interview tonight. "He died for his country and he died loving his country."

An assistant gunner, Koch was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., Defense Department officials said.

Koch is survived by a wife, Amy, and daughter, Zoe, both of Spotswood, military officials said. He also leaves a brother, William, and his parents, William and Christine Koch, all of Milltown.

Steven Koch had completed his 15-month tour of duty, and was due home next month, his mother said. "This is so difficult, it's too new, I hardly believe he's gone," Christine Koch said.

Defense Department officials said Koch died of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near the Sabari District Center. A second soldier, Sgt. Robert T. Rapp, 22, of Sonora, Calif., also was killed in the attack.

Koch is the 97th service member with ties to New Jersey killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He was promoted posthumously to corporal from specialist, according to military officials.

"Corporal Koch was a highly dedicated paratrooper," said Capt. Henry Rowland, the 1st Battalion, 508th PIR rear detachment commander. "He was dedicated not only to his profession but also in serving this great nation."

Koch joined the Army in March 2006. He arrived to the 82nd Airborne Division in August 2006, after completing Infantry One Station Unit Training and the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Ga.

"He will be sorely missed by all of those who knew him, and our thoughts are with his family during their time of grief," Rowland said.

Koch's decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. He also was awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, and the Parachutist's Badge, military officials said.

Army Cpl. Steven R. Koch was killed in action on 3/03/08.

Grave marker for Cpl Steven R. Koch in Section 60, Site 8557, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

Cpl Koch was killed in action in Afghanistan on March 3, 2008 and was interred her just 11 days later.  This photo was taken on March 27, 2008.

Cpl Koch was awarded the Bronze Stare Medal and the Purple Heart


See also Memorial Website