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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 978-03
December 26, 2003

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

     The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The soldiers were killed on Dec. 24, when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device on Highway One near Samarra, Iraq.  Killed were:

     Maj. Christopher J. Splinter, 43, of Platteville, Wis.

     Capt. Christopher F. Soelzer, 26, of South Dakota.

     Sgt. Benjamin W. Biskie, 27, of Vermilion, Ohio.

     The soldiers were assigned to the 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, based in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

     This incident is under investigation.