Final salute for first female West Point grad killed in Iraq

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There was a somber final salute Tuesday as hundreds gathered to remember a West Point graduate who died fighting in Iraq.

Emily Perez, 23, was not only the academy's first black woman to serve as a corps commander sergeant major, but was the first loss for West Point?s class of 2005, also known as the ?class of 9-11? because the attacks occurred just weeks into their plebe year. She was also the first female graduate of the academy to die in action in Iraq. Perez was a platoon leader at the head of a convoy when a roadside bomb exploded south of Baghdad on September 12 and killed her.

A reverend from a Washington, D.C. church remarked about Perez that one of the things important to her was not the fear of death, but the fear of not living. Her fellow cadets remembered her as a ?superwoman?, who was full of energy and life.

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