Family remembers soldier found dead in Iraq

Friends and family remember Spc. Ross Vogel III for his easygoing personality, compassion for others and love of cars and the Pittsburgh Steelers.


"Ross would do anything for you," his stepsister Michelle Powell said Friday. "He wanted to please everyone. He didn't have conflict with anyone."

The 27-year-old soldier based at Fort Gordon was found unconscious in his room Tuesday at Camp Delta, near Kut, Iraq, and pronounced dead. Military officials are investigating the death, as those who knew Spc. Vogel mourn and search for answers.

"I love him, and I will miss him very much," his stepsister Christin Wiley said. "It's just a shame. I'm totally confused. I don't understand it whatsoever."

Spc. Vogel was deployed to Iraq in August with the 67th Signal Battalion. The Red Lion, Pa., native enlisted in 2001, inspired by his older brother, who was in the Air Force, Miss Wiley said.

"He was a sweetheart," she said. "He didn't have an enemy in the world."

Fellow soldiers in Iraq will hold a memorial service for Spc. Vogel today, said Marla Jones, a spokeswoman at Fort Gordon.

Spc. Vogel was married with two children. His wife, Kristen Vogel, is a secretary at Freedom Park Elementary School, where her children are enrolled in kindergarten and sixth grade, said Principal Rita Bradley.

The school is taking donations for the family and sending flowers. The PTA also is assembling baskets with items for the family, Ms. Bradley said.

"They are a very sweet, very nice family," she said. "This is her first year at Freedom Park, but she's already part of our family."

Ms. Powell, 31, said her father married Spc. Vogel's mother when they were teenagers. He was the youngest of five children. Ms. Powell and Miss Wiley said one of their favorite memories of their brother was clowning around making videos when they lived in Delaware.

"We always used to dance in front of the video camera when we were younger," Miss Wiley said. "We just did stupid teenage stuff."

Ms. Powell said family members were to meet Spc. Vogel's body at Dover Air Force base in Delaware on Friday. She said the family planned to bury him in Red Lion.

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