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The casket of Spc. James Wertish is carried Monday from St. Mary's Catholic Church in Bird Island following the service. (Ron Adams/West Central Tribune)

Olivia soldier who died in Iraq remembered as typical teen, dreamed of becoming a police officer

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BIRD ISLAND -- Army National Guard Spc. James Wertish was remembered at his funeral Monday morning as a young man who "raised a little hell now and then" but was willing to lay down his life for others.

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Wertish, 20, of rural Olivia, a specialist with the Minnesota National Guard 34th Infantry Division, was killed July 16 in a missile attack at a military base near Basra, Iraq.

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