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Fallen soldier feared final mission, his widow says

Last e-mail cited poor planning

ORONO, Maine -- An Army staff sergeant who was buried yesterday was worried about the mission on which he died in Iraq, his young widow said.

Eric Ross, 26, told his wife that the mission in the city of Baqubah, just outside the notorious Sunni Triangle, was poorly planned.

"He was scared about it," said Allison Ross, 19, of Lisbon. That online communication was the last they had. The next day, an Army official arrived on her doorstep.

Governor John Baldacci ordered flags lowered to half-staff yesterday as Ross's funeral was held in the gymnasium at Orono High School, where he graduated. Burial was in Veterans' Memorial Cemetery.

Ross, who was on his second tour of duty in Iraq, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3d Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas.

Allison Ross is six months pregnant. When doctors determined that she was carrying a boy, the couple decided to name him Gabriel Bradley.

Bradley is the name of a friend injured during her husband's first tour in Iraq.

Their faith gave them Gabriel, Allison Ross said. "It means 'Messenger of God.' "

Compounding her loss, Allison Ross will bury her grandmother, Louise Mockley, today . Mockley, 71, died on Saturday.

Allison Ross said Mockley lost her first husband in a war. "I wanted to talk with her about how she got by," Ross said.

Besides his wife, Ross leaves a daughter, Megan, 4, and a son, Trever, 7, both from a previous relationship.