Benning soldiers killed in Iraq from Massachusetts and Idaho

Although the Department of Defense has yet to release the names of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team soldiers killed Tuesday in Iraq, media reports identify them as Spc. Kyle A. Little of West Boylston, Mass., and Cpl. Blake Stephens of Pocatello, Idaho.

The Associated Press reported that the two were killed while riding in a convoy escorting an Army colonel in Salman Pak, a town 18 miles south of Baghdad.

Both families were told that their sons were victims of a roadside bomb.

Salman Pak is where three members of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, were killed April 28. That battalion is commanded by Lt. Col. Jack Marr; the brigade commander is Col. Wayne Grigsby, Jr.

Little, 20, had just begun his second tour in Iraq. The fire support specialist was married on Feb. 7, just a month before the brigade shipped out.

Trent Stephens, a noted biologist in Pocatello, told the Idaho State Journal Wednesday that his son had told him "the only way something would happen to him would be if there was some fluke accident like a roadside bomb. We knew something could happen, but we didn't think it would."

News of Stephens' death set off a wave of support across the city. Mayor Roger Chase ordered flags at City Hall flown at half-staff Wednesday and encouraged others across the eastern Idaho city to do the same. Others helped plant a line of flags from Century High School, where Stephens graduated in 2000, to his parents' home.

"Pocatello is extremely proud of Blake's service to his country," Chase said. "Our hearts go out to his family at this difficult time."

The deaths of the two soldiers brings to seven the number of 3rd HBCT soldiers to die in Iraq since April 8.