Mississippi Soldiers Honor the Fallen

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The 150th Combat Engineer Battalion in Iraq has lost two soldiers this year, Spc. Robert Allen McNail and Sgt. 1st Class Sean Michael Cooley.

The unit is attached to the 155th Brigade Combat Team, which is made up of about 3,500 soldiers from Mississippi and others from Vermont and Arkansas.

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Kelly said in an e-mail from Iraq that the unit's recent discovery of a large weapons cache evoked feelings of bitter irony for some soldiers. Much of the material discovered could have been used to make IEDs.

Cooley, 35, was killed Feb. 3. Another soldier in the 155th, Sgt. Robert Shane Pugh, 25, was killed March 2, also by an IED.

Maj. Erby Montgomery, a public affairs officer for the 155th, says that two caches found last week by the 155th contained heavy machine guns, 40,000 rounds of ammunition, hundreds of mortar and artillery rounds, surface-to-air missiles, grenades and rocket propelled grenade launchers.