Morris County residents honor U.S. Army reservist who was killed in Iraq

(11/20/04) DENVILLE - Morris County residents remembered the life of one of their own, Major Charles Robert Soltes, on Saturday. The 36-year-old U.S. Army reservist was killed in Iraq in October.

Services had been held for Major Soltes in California, where he and his family had been living most recently. Now, Soltes' hometown friends got their chance to say goodbye at a memorial inside Morris Catholic High School in Denville.

Friends, family and classmates packed the school to celebrate the life of Soltes, a father of two with a third child on the way. Rob's pregnant wife and two sons were not able to make the trip from California for the New Jersey service. News 12 New Jersey was told that if she has a boy, she plans to name him Rob after his father.

Rob grew up in Boonton Township, graduated from Morris Catholic in 1986 and is said to have been an excellent student. He followed his father's footsteps into the military. As an optometrist, he was in charge of rebuilding medical facilities in Iraq but was killed when an explosive device stuck his convoy.

Last Thursday, acting New Jersey Governor Dick Codey ordered all flags lowered at half-staff in Rob's honor. At the service, Codey presented the family with the flag that flew outside the state capitol building.

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