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Sean K. Cataudella




08/30/2003, BALAD, IRAQ

Sal Cataudella holds a letter from his son, Sean. Sal and Connie Cataudella got it the day before Sean was killed on patrol in Iraq. The letter according to his parent’s seems to make Sean’s death a little more bearable. The sergeant wrote about the complex situation he and other American forces find themselves in while they try to secure peace, and help the Iraqis transition to a new government.

In Tuscon, SGT Sean’s dog 13 year old Weedie lay quietly on the floor. In Texas, SGT Cataudella’s widow grieved with their two young daughters and new born son.

Sean and his wife Naomi were best friends and sweethearts at Rincon High School. He played football and wrestled there.

SGT Cataudella was an Army scout, a particularly dangerous job in Tikrit, Iraq in 2003. SGT Cataudella joined the military because he “loved his country and was always an adventurous soul,” his father said. He chose the Army right after graduation from high school in 1994.

Connie Cataudella thinks about a time she and her daughters tickled Sean all the way to the floor one Christmas. He was 16. She chuckles. Mrs. Cataudella commented that in the nearly 10 years her only son was in the Army, “We never expected this. He was so careful.” Mr. and Mrs. Cataudella say, their son had a job to do “over there and that’s where he needed to be.”

“He earned his spurs. And he got his spurs.” Sean joined the military because he “loved his country and was always an adventurous soul. He was the gentlest soul you’d ever want to meet,” explained Sal Cataudella.

“I looked forward to a story he said he was going to tell me about how he jumped a wall (on patrol in Iraq) and almost got kicked by a donkey. But I guess I’ll have to wait till I see him again to hear that one.”


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