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Utah Soldier Remembered as Friend, Hero

Utah Soldier Remembered as Friend, Hero

Posted - Apr. 6, 2003 at 9:00 a.m.



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Sandra Yi ReportingStaff Sargeant Nino Livaudais, originally from Utah, died Thursday night when a car bomb exploded in western Iraq.

His friend, Hayden Hatch, saw Livaudais last summer, when Livaudais came back to Utah for a visit.

Hatch says his friend said little about the war, but was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

"I'm proud of him. He was doing what he loved. Definitely proud of him," Hatch says.

Staff Sargeant Livaudais is the second Utah soldier killed in action in Iraq.

He was 23.

"He was definitely an image of an American. He loved his country. He loved his family. He would do anything for either or," Hatch says.

Livaudais, an Army Ranger, died in a terrorist attack Thursday night in western Iraq.

A car bomb exploded, killing two other American soldiers, a pregnant woman and the car's driver. Two Iraqi women allegedly responsible for the attack have been shown on Iraqi television.

"He's a hero, definitely," Hatch says. "They had to do a terrorist type thing in order to get him. He was definitely a strong individual.He was a great guy."

Hayden Hatch calls Livaudais his best friend. They met in the 8th grade at Syracuse Junior High and graduated from Clearfield High School.

Their wives are also best friends. In fact, it was Livaudais' wife Jackie who called Hatch with the news.

"I was in shock, saddened," he says.

Hatch remembers Livaudais as a caring friend who liked to deer hunt. But the army, Hatch says, was Livaudais' passion.

Livaudais joined the army in 1998 and was a member of the 3rd battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

In 2001he went to Aghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and has been posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor and the Purple Heart.

He leaves behind a pregnant wife and two children.

"He was a good guy," Hatch says. "I'm proud to say he was my friend."

Livaudais will be buried in Arlington National Cemetary. Friends say his family is planning a memorial service in Utah.

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