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By DOROTHEE THIESING

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Friends and comrades of a 21-year-old Virginia airman on Thursday honored the energy, dedication and humor of a young man whose life was cut short last week by an alleged Islamic extremist gunman.

Airman 1st Class Zachary R. Cuddeback was one of two servicemen shot and killed March 2 by a 21-year-old Kosovo Albanian who prosecutors say confessed to wanting to kill Americans in revenge for the Afghanistan mission.

"All I know and all I can tell you is that Airman Cuddeback died serving his country," Lt. Col. Uduak Uduoaka, Cuddeback's commander, told dozens who had gathered beneath an oversized U.S. flag at Ramstein Air Base in western Germany.

"I can't tell you and define how and why, but as a member of the family and his commander, I lost a valued comrade, and so today is about remembering him."

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