Service held for Utah soldier killed at Fort Hood

WEST JORDAN, Utah (AP) — Friends, family and Utah dignitaries packed a Mormon chapel Saturday to attend a memorial service for a West Jordan soldier who was one of 13 killed last week at Fort Hood, Texas.Among the mourners at the noon service for Pfc. Aaron Thomas Nemelka, 19, were Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, attended a family viewing at the West Jordan church on Friday, said Lt. Col. Lisa Olsen, a Utah National Guard spokesman.Outside the chapel, about 30 Utah members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a national motorcycle group that attends the funerals of fallen soldiers, stood at silent attention in a sea of American flags as the area’s first snowstorm of the season fell.”I am honored to be here,” a black leather jacket-clad Peggy Morrill said. “I’m very grateful that this young man chose to serve his country.”Nemelka will be buried in Utah’s Veterans Memorial Park at Camp Williams.Nemelka’s family said he was among the first killed in the Nov. 5 shooting.Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, was charged Thursday with the shooting spree at Fort Hood. Army investigators have said Hasan is the only suspect and could face additional charges.An Eagle Scout, Nemelka joined the Army a little more than a year ago. He was preparing to deploy to Iraq as part of the 510th Engineering Company, 20th Infantry Battalion, 36th Engineering Brigade and was trained to defuse bombs.The youngest of four children, Nemelka was a 2008 graduate of West Jordan High and planned to attend the University of Utah to study architecture following his military service, his family said.Relatives also said Nemelka was planning to ask his girlfriend, Kristen Whittle, to marry him this December during a visit home.In an obituary that appeared in Salt Lake City newspapers Friday, Nemelka was described as person who made friends easily, had a simple trust in God and was proud to serve in the military.”Aaron was a man of few words but deep feelings and a gentle disposition,” the obituary reads. “His beautiful smile and cheerful, fun-loving personality endeared him to his many friends and family members.”Nemelka has relatives that live in Cache Valley.

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