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Non-combat injuries kill Idaho Guardsman in Iraq

Staff Sgt. Virgil R. Case, 37, died June 1 in Kirkuk. 
 (Idaho National Guard photo / The Spokesman-Review)
Staff Sgt. Virgil R. Case, 37, died June 1 in Kirkuk. (Idaho National Guard photo / The Spokesman-Review)
Staff reports

The Department of Defense announced on Thursday the first death of an Idaho National Guardsman attached to the 116th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Virgil R. Case, 37, of Mountain Home, Idaho, died June 1 in Kirkuk from noncombat-related injuries, according to an Idaho National Guard statement. The cause of death was not released.

Case, who was assigned to the 145th Support Battalion, is survived by his wife, Claudia, and four children.

The family issued a statement on Thursday.

“There was never a man loved by his family as much as Virgil Case was,” the statement read. “He was a loving father and husband who lived for his family. There are no words that can express how much he will be missed. He will never be forgotten. He proudly served in the Army National Guard.”

Army National Guard units from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Utah make up the 116th Brigade. With the death of Case, six Guard members have died in Iraq since the brigade was deployed last December. Three of them were from Oregon, and one each from Montana, California and Idaho, said Lt. Col. Tim Marsano, an Idaho Guard spokesman.

Before his deployment, Case was a full-time Idaho Guardsman who worked at the 145th Support Battalion’s Mountain Home armory.

“We are saddened at the loss of Staff Sgt. Virgil Case,” said Maj. Gen. Larry Lafrenz, Idaho adjutant general. “His valiant and dedicated service to our state and nation will long be remembered.”

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