Bagpipes, brief words and tears in a Fort Carson chapel Wednesday mourned three soldiers killed in an Afghanistan rocket attack.
The three from a transportation company in the post's 43rd Sustainment Brigade died June 18 at Bagram Air Base, north of the Afghan capitol of Kabul. Comrades said Sgt. William Moody, Spc. Ember Alt and Spc. Robert Ellis are deeply missed.
"These soldiers embody the best of this unit," the brigade's 1st Lt. Natalie Lopez-Barnard told a crowd that filled the pews at Soldiers Memorial Chapel.
At 21, Ellis was gaining confidence and earning a reputation as a man who could make others smile in the midst of harship.
The Kennewick, Wash., native was on his first deployment to war where he worked as a truck driver, hauling critical supplies for American troops. Staff. Sgt. Dan Meigs said Ellis was planning on making a career in the Army.
"It was easy for him to be there for people," Meigs said.
Friends said Alt's parents were prescient when they picked her first name. The 21-year-old from Killeen, Texas had an inner fire that showed in her work and on the battlefield. On a convoy, the mechanic rushed to aid troops wounded by a roadside bomb - jumping out of her truck before she was ordered to and leaping into danger without a thought.
"She saved two soldiers and an airman that day," Lopez-Barnard told mourners.
Eulogist Spc. Heather Stone said knew there was something special inside that drove Alt.
"You were our friend, our sister in arms and a true American hero," Stone said.
Moody was described as a Texan on a mission. He joined the Marine Corps weeks after the Iraq war started and served a year in combat there as a truck driver before his four-year hitch was up.
The 30-year-old from Burleson, Texas, wasn't a civilian for long. The married father of three enlisted in the Army in 2008 and wound up serving three tours in Afghanistan.
Retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason Clemens remembered Moody's electric smile.
"He was that presence you could never get away from," Clemens said.
Overseas, Moody spent a lot of time telling comrades about his kids.
"His kids were his life," Clemens said.
The ceremony focused on how sacrifices overseas have helped keep America free.
After more than 11 years in Afghanistan, the toll is leaving soldiers weary.
"We've got to get out of there," one sergeant said to another outside the chapel after the service ended. "It's time. It's time."