99th from Fort Lewis killed in Iraq

FORT LEWIS - A 19-year-old military policeman serving his first tour in Iraq has been killed in an explosion at a security checkpoint, the Army said Tuesday.

Pfc. Jeffrey A. Avery died Monday in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, from wounds suffered when a bomb exploded during checkpoint operations, the Department of Defense said in a news release.

Avery was assigned to the 571st Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade at Fort Lewis. He arrived in Muqdadiyah last December.

The soldier is the second from his company to die in Iraq. Spc. Anthony A. Kaiser, 27, of Narrowsburg, N.Y., died March 17 of wounds from small arms fire after his unit encountered enemy forces.

Avery, of Colorado Springs, Colo., joined the Army in December 2005, and completed military police training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, Fort Lewis spokeswoman Erin Benson said Tuesday. He arrived at Fort Lewis in May 2006.

Avery is the 99th Fort Lewis soldier to die since the war began in Iraq in March 2003, and the third to die in Iraq in the past week, Benson said.

On Monday, the Defense Department announced that two Stryker brigade soldiers with Fort Lewis' 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division were killed last Wednesday.

Cpl. Wade J. Oglesby, 27, of Grand Junction, Colo., and Cpl. Michael M. Rojas, 21, of Fresno, Calif., died in Taji when a bomb detonated near their vehicle.