Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Army Cpl. Albert Bitton

Remember Our Heroes

Army Cpl. Albert Bitton, 20, of Chicago

Cpl. Bitton was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky. died Feb. 20, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq, from wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device in Baghdad on Feb. 19.

ABC Local -- CHICAGO (WLS) -- A soldier from Chicago has been killed while serving in Iraq. Twenty-year-old Albert Bitton was killed in Baghdad on Tuesday when his Humvee was hit by an explosive device.

Bitton served as a medic in Iraq. He joined the Army so he could receive financial help for medical school.

There were major changes in Albert Bitton's life last fall. He was married in August and was scheduled to head out to Iraq in October. But, before that trip he visited his former high school in uniform, where he talked about his plans to return one day and become a doctor.

Friends and family are sharing their memories of the 20-year-old, a medic in the Army, who died Tuesday in Baghdad.

"Going and being a medic was something he believed in. It was something that was going to contribute to his future," said Tal Kohn, Bitton's friend.

Those close to Bitton say he saw the Army as a way to gain the training and financial help to someday become a surgeon. The West Rogers Park native joined the Army in December of 2005 after finishing high school at Ida Crown Jewish Academy.

While there, Bitton got good grades, mostly A's, joined the wrestling team and he met the woman who would later become his wife. They married last fall before Bitton left for Iraq.

"I'm still not used to the fact I'm not gonna talk to him. My immediate reflex is to remember these things for the next time he calls," said Melissa Handleman, wife.

Bitton was scheduled to return home in January of next year. He kept in touch with his family and friends via e-mail. "Towards the end, a lot of his friends said the emails coming from Iraq said he was having a tougher time; he put on a good face for his parents," said Rabbi Leonard Matanky, Ida Crown Jewish Academy.

On Tuesday, Bitton was killed when the Humvee he was in hit an improvised explosive device. His family says Bitton joined the Army not just for medical experience but because he was a patriot.

"He liked his country, he loved his country very much," said Elie Bitton, father.

Albert's father Elie and mother Sylvia have received condolences from friends as far away as Israel and Alaska. His body is expected to return to Chciago sometime his weekend and his funeral is planned for early next week.

Army Cpl. Albert Bitton was killed in action on 2/20/08.

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