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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Schofield soldier succumbs to injuries

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Read the stories of fallen service members with Hawai'i ties, most of whom were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the spring of 2003. Follow our coverage of Hawai'i troops and read the messages from friends and family in Dispatches.

Advertiser Staff and News Services

A 20-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier died Christmas Day in Germany of a noncombat injury received Friday in Baghdad, Iraq, the Pentagon said.

Pfc. Eric R. Wilkus, of Hamilton, N.J., was assigned to the 57th Military Police Company, 8th Military Police Brigade at Schofield.

Wilkus's unit, which deployed out of South Korea, was reassigned in October to the Schofield brigade while in Iraq.

Wilkus died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Fifteen Schofield Barracks soldiers have died in Iraq since September.

Wilkus was a volunteer firefighter with the White Horse Fire Co. in Hamilton, The Star-Ledger of Newark said on its Web site.

White Horse Fire Chief Richard Soltis Jr. remembered Wilkus as a hard worker.

"He was excited to follow in the footsteps of his father, who is a firefighter, and his aunt, who is involved in the emergency services, and his grandfather, who was also involved in the fire service," Soltis told The Star-Ledger.

With 90 deaths this month and four days still to go, December is the second-deadliest month for the U.S. military this year; 105 troops were killed in October.