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2 weeks, 11 deaths for Fort Lewis

A 20-year-old Fort Lewis infantryman was killed in Iraq Thursday, the Department of Defense reported Saturday.

Pfc. Jonathan V. Hamm of Baltimore was the 11th Fort Lewis soldier killed in the Iraq War in the past two weeks, Fort Lewis spokesman Joseph Piek said.

Hamm died after he was hit by enemy fire at a forward operating base in Baghdad, the Army said. Details of the fight that caused his death were not available.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis.

Hamm was one of two Stryker Brigade soldiers killed in separate battles Thursday.

Pfc. Aaron D. Gautier, 19, died when his patrol was

attacked by forces using small arms and improvised bombs, the Army said Friday.

Hamm and Gautier belonged to the same Stryker Brigade but were assigned to different companies, Piek said.

Commanders deployed a number of Fort Lewis troops to Iraq's capital earlier this month to help put down sectarian violence.

Hamm joined the Army in November 2004 and trained at Fort Benning, Ga., before his assignment at Fort Lewis, Piek said. His unit was sent to the war zone last month. It was Hamm's first tour of duty in Iraq, Piek said.

No other information about Hamm was available on Saturday.

News of his death punctuated an unusually somber week at the post.

More than 700 people attended memorial services Tuesday for six Stryker Brigade soldiers killed May 6 in a roadside bomb attack in Diyala province, north of Baghdad.

They belonged to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, one of the infantry battalions of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. The tour of war duty for that Stryker brigade recently was extended into October. The brigade has been in Iraq since June.

On Friday, more than 200 soldiers gathered at Fort Lewis to mourn the May 10 death of

Pfc. Anthony J. Sausto, a 22-year-old New Jersey native.

Sausto was killed by small arms fire in Baghdad.

He was the first fatal casualty of the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division since it deployed from Fort Lewis to Iraq early this month.

A memorial for Hamm, the Maryland soldier, is scheduled at the post's Evergreen Chapel on Thursday - exactly one week after he was killed. The tentative time is 11 a.m., Piek said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are just so with the families of these soldiers," Piek said Saturday. "We do our best to make sure these soldiers are honored and remembered. We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers and condolences we have received from the community."

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