Former Forest Grove track star and University of Portland grad d - KPTV - FOX 12

Former Forest Grove track star and University of Portland grad dies in Iraq

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1st Lt. David Bauders (Photo: Department of Defense) 1st Lt. David Bauders (Photo: Department of Defense)
David Bauders (Photo: Washington State Patrol) David Bauders (Photo: Washington State Patrol)

A former Forest Grove High School track star and University of Portland graduate died in Iraq. The Department of Defense said 1st Lt. David Bauders died in a non-combat incident last Friday. 

The DOD said Bauders died supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in Western Iraq. Those who knew him say he was a selfless person and will be deeply missed.

Loved ones said Bauders was born in New York and graduated from high school in Forest Grove. It was during his time there that he became involved in both cross country and track.  

“He was just a really hard worker and a serious athlete,” said former track coach Sue Fleskes.

Fleskes told FOX 12 Bauders was a determined and focused athlete who will always hold a special place in her heart.

The Forest Grove School District confirms he was awarded an ROTC scholarship in 2009.

“He always had a heart for service whether law or military,” said Fleskes. “He was a fine young man and my heart goes out to his family."

Bauders went on to study sociology and psychology at the University of Portland, according to staff there. He began his career with the Washington State Patrol after his graduation in 2013, according to WSP. 

WSP said Bauders deployed with the 176th Engineer Company of the Washington State National Guard for a one-year deployment in February. 

“Although early into his career with us, David was a very well-liked and highly respected member of the agency,” said WSP Chief John Batiste. “Please keep David’s family, co-workers and friends, along with our nation's military personnel deployed overseas, in your thoughts and prayers.”

The DOD said Bauders died May 6 on the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq in a non-combat related incident and his death remains under investigation.

“We are very grateful for his service to our country. It’s such a tragedy,” said Fleskes. “He was only 25, he had so much ahead of him.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement about Bauders’ death which reads in part:

“He was a young man who was building a future wholly devoted to serving and protecting the people of our state and our nation. The loss of this young life is one i know all 7 million Washingtonians join me in mourning.”

There is no word on plans for a memorial service at this time. 

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