Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger, 40, of Garland, TX died Thursday, November 2, 2006 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq. Lt. Col. Kruger was the Deputy Commanding Officer of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division stationed out of Fort Carson, CO. Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger was born to Lawrence and Carol Kruger in Heidelberg, Germany on January 12, 1966. He spent his childhood in Garland, TX, and he attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, attaining a Bachelor's in Political Science and a Master's in Liberal Arts. Eric was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, as well as the SMU ROTC program. Lt. Col Kruger enlisted in the United States Army in 1986. He received his commission in 1988 and joined active duty service in 1989 upon graduation. Lt. Col. Kruger was a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Defense Language Institute (French), and Command General Staff College. During Lt. Col Eric J. Kruger's 20 years of service in the United States Army, he served in Korea, Bahrain, Africa, Afghanistan, and Iraq. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (1 OLC), Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (4 OLC), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, Iraq Campaign Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Action Badge, Air Assault Badge, Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, and Ranger Tab. Eric was a passionate man who poured himself into every task, no matter how small, who found a way to laugh in every situation, no matter how difficult, and who strove to do what was right, no matter the cost. He was a true patriot who died serving our country and protecting our freedom. He was a loving husband and father, a devoted son, grandson, and brother. He was the best of the best our country had to offer. Lt. Col Eric J. Kruger leaves behind his wife Sara, and their children Christian (4), Elise (16 months), and his step children, Caitlin (12) and Joshua (9). He is also survived by his father Lawrence, his mother Carol, brother Douglas, sister Kristy, and his grandmother Agnes. Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger was laid to rest with his fellow soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery on November 14. A memorial service will be held at Soldiers Memorial Chapel at Fort Carson on December 6, 2006 at 1:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been set up by Don Addy in Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger's name to assist in the support of his children. Donations may be made to: The Memorial Fund for Children of LTC Eric Kruger, 4850 Langdale Way, Colorado Springs, CO 80906.