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Crescenta Valley High Graduate, 22, Killed in Iraq

Nick Steinbacher died Dec. 10 while on night patrol with his company.

December 14, 2006|By Mary O'Keefe

On Sunday a Crescenta Valley family received the news that their son, Nick Steinbacher, serving in Iraq, had been killed during a night patrol on Dec. 10. He had just celebrated his 22nd birthday on Dec. 8.

"We've changed the doorbell since then," the soldier's brother, Dan Steinbacher, said Tuesday. He explained that his mother didn't want to hear the sound of the bell again as it only reminded her of the arrival of the horrible news.

Nick Steinbacher, a 2003 graduate of Crescenta Valley High School, entered the United States Army First Calvary Infantry division on Dec. 24, 2004. He was deployed to Iraq on Oct. 29 of this year. According to information provided by the military, Nick was on a night patrol with members of his company when a roadside bomb went off near his Humvee.

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"His skydiving instructor contacted us. He said he died securing his company's safety," Dan said. "We also got an e-mail from one of the guys in his company. He said that Nick was the spirit of their company." The soldier that e-mailed the family had been injured in the same attack and had lost a leg from the knee down.

The family does not have information on the rest of the members of Nick's company but has been told there were some who were injured but survived.

"My heart is broken but my heart goes out to the guys still there," Dan said. "I don't know their names but they have really taken some major hits and they have a long road to home. Nick's done. He doesn't have to worry about it anymore."

Nick's parents, Carolyn and Paul Steinbacher, graduated from Crescenta Valley High School. Their sons Nick and Dan followed suit. The Steinbachers' youngest son, Kirk, is a CVHS senior. Paul, Dan and Nick all played football at CVHS. At one point, Dan was coaching, Nick was playing and Paul was in the stands.

"Nick played football all four years. Dad played football at CVHS and Nick wore his number," Dan said. "He was proud to be able to wear the number 51. I wore it, too."

The school is feeling the loss of one of their own. The flag in front of the school is being flown at half staff.

"We are just devastated, the parents are close to the school," said Mike Livingston, CVHS co-principal. "Nick's dad graduated my first year here [in 1974]."

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