In Good Company: Soldiers Killed in Iraq Remembered

Published July 25, 2007 by Colorado Springs Gazette.

They both liked hockey; they arrived at Fort Carson at the same time; and both were sent to Iraq in October. On Tuesday, Fort Carson mourned the two soldiers, Spc. Steven Davis, 23, and Sgt. Eric Lill, 28, who died in Baghdad this month while serving with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Lill died July 6 of wounds suffered when a bomb exploded near his Humvee.

Davis died July 4 when his unit was attacked by insurgents with grenades. Friends remembered each for his love of family; Davis was especially known for his smile and Lill for a fondness of his hometown sports teams. Davis, of Woodbridge, Va., came from a family with an armed forces tradition.

According to accounts from The Washington Post, his mother, Tess, is a paramedic in Iraq, and his grandfather Rick Lara and brother Christopher are in the Army.

At Davis’ funeral last week at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, his former roommate Spc. Jordan Bloom gave the eulogy, something each promised to do if the other died in Iraq.

“If a person is judged by the company he holds, then I am a far better man having known Davis,” Bloom said in a statement read at Tuesday’s memorial at Fort Carson.

Bloom thought he would be leaving Iraq on July 4, but he was told his tour was being extended a few more weeks. At first Bloom was upset, but he viewed it differently after Davis was killed.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Bloom said during the funeral at Arlington. “God granted me two more days with my best friend.”

Bloom said he was there when Davis’ mother was told of her son’s death. She handled it with a demeanor similar to that of her son: “calm and cool,” according to Bloom, and said she was “glad we were there with him.”

Davis’ commander, Capt. Joseph Schwankhaus, said in a statement read at the memorial that what he remembered about Davis was his raving about his brown and black 1992 Honda CRX. He also had an uncanny ability to find scarce things, Schwankhaus said in the statement. He could find you a box of marbles and a three-headed squirrel in a matter of hours if you asked him to, Schwankhaus said.

Davis joined the Army two years ago, The Washington Post reported, so he could take care of his wife, Ayla, and baby daughter Elizabeth.

Lill, of Chicago, was best known for being the lead gun of his platoon’s convoys and constantly talking about his 6-year-old son, Cody, and 4-year-old daughter, Mikayla, fellow soldiers said during ceremonies in Iraq and in statements read at Tuesday’s Fort Carson ceremony.

Lill was on his second tour helping to train Iraqi police when he was killed.

He was worried about the danger when he was deployed last fall, but once in Iraq, he told his family things were “boring” and they shouldn’t worry. “I think it was . . . scarier than what he led us to believe,” his father, Anthony Lill, told The Gazette two weeks ago.

He was an avid hockey fan who played from grade school to adulthood, including one year at Marshall University in West Virginia. He was to be discharged in April and hoped to be a police officer or U.S. Secret Service agent after leaving the military, his father said.


Spc. Steven Alexander Davis of Woodbridge, Va., died July 4 when his unit was attacked by insurgents with grenades in Baghdad. Survived by his wife, Ayla; daughter, Elizabeth; parents, Guy and Tess Davis; and brother, Christopher. Sgt. Eric Anthony Lill of Chicago died July 6 of wounds suffered after a bomb exploded near his Humvee in Baghdad. Lill is survived by his son, Cody; daughter, Mikayla; his parents, Tony and Charmaine; and brother, Kortne.

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