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Soldier Buried at Historic Arlington National Cemetery

Soldier Buried at Historic Arlington National Cemetery

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(Arlington, Virginia-AP) -- He's the first soldier from the Iraq war to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Captain Russell Rippetoe (RIP'-toh) has been laid to rest today at the historic burial ground just outside Washington.

The 27-year-old Army Ranger from Denver and two fellow soldiers were killed April fourth when a car bomb blew up at a checkpoint. Eight Rangers from his unit blinked back tears as they acted as honorary pallbearers.

Another Ranger who was wounded in the incident watched from a wheelchair. He was still wearing bandages.

An Army chaplain told mourners that when Rippetoe joined the service, he joined "full force."

Rippetoe's father Joe -- a retired lieutenant colonel -- saluted in uniform as the Rangers knelt in front of the parents. The senior Rippetoe had been wounded during two tours in Vietnam.

Next to the grave are pictures of his son -- smiling as an infant, as a young man in fatigues, and kissing his mother on the cheek. His parents were presented with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart that their son was awarded posthumously.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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