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OKC soldier killed in Iraq

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An Oklahoma City soldier who was killed in an insurgency attack in Iraq this week was a happy, giving young man, family members and friends said Friday.

Spc. Sonny Gene Sampler, 23, was one of five U.S. soldiers who died Thursday at a military headquarters in Samarra, Iraq, when insurgents detonated a car bomb and fired mortars at the building.

Rellon ``Skeeter'' Sampler said the family learned of his younger brother's death Thursday afternoon.

``He was a first-class kid,'' Skeeter Sampler said. ``He'd do anything for you. He always had a smile on his face.''

Sonny Sampler grew up in Altus and moved to Oklahoma City with his family. He attended John Marshall High School before getting his General Equivalency Diploma, or GED.

In 2001, Sonny Sampler joined the Army, which his friend, Dylan Toombs, said Sampler saw as a way to better himself.

``He wanted to kind of make something of himself and have a direction in life,'' Toombs said. ``He thought when he came out of the military he would have a pretty straight head on him.''

But Toombs said the main reason Sonny Sampler gave for joining was so he could save money and help his family.
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