Sgt. 1st Class Gladimir Philippe called home nearly every week to counsel his youngest brother, who looked up to the veteran soldier as a role model and best friend.
Philippe, 37, of Roselle, enlisted after graduating from high school, where he was on the bowling team, according to Fedlyn Philippe, 16, Gladimir's youngest brother. The elder Philippe carried a passion for the sport into adulthood.
"He was like my best friend and my brother at the same time," Fedlyn Philippe said. "He was a person I could just talk to. I looked up to him a lot."
The bodies of Philippe and Pfc. Kevin Ott, 27, of Orient, Ohio, were discovered Saturday northwest of Baghdad (search), as the death toll topped 200 for Americans killed since war started in Iraq.
The pair, both members of an artillery unit based at Fort Sill, Okla., were last seen Wednesday at their post in the town of Balad, 25 miles north of the Iraqi capital.
The eldest of nine children, Philippe entered the Army in 1988, and also saw action in the Gulf War (search), according to the Pentagon.
The Army "was something (Gladimir) chose to do," Fedlyn Philippe said. "He always told me not to join. He told me to play basketball and keep my head strong and don't worry about girls, and to do good in school."
The soldier's father, Renisse Philippe, brought his family to New York from Haiti in 1970 and moved to New Jersey two years later.
The parents of Ott, who served in the Army since January 2002, have requested privacy. Orient is a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.
"Please don't bother us at the moment and thank you very much for respecting our wishes," said a woman answering the Ott's phone Saturday morning.
Next-door neighbors Matt and Anna Gailis spoke of Ott's passion for his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which he'd take out early in the morning.
"He was in and out at odd hours," said Matt Gailis. "He seemed like a nice enough guy."