Army Spc. Robert Hoyt, a member of the C Company, 102nd Infantry Battalion from Bristol, was killed Dec. 11, 2004 when his armored vehicle struck a bomb in Baghdad. He was a graduate of E.O Smith High School in Storrs and has family in the Ashford area. He was 21 years old.
Rob Hoyt and Steve Pozzato grew up together in Ashford, where they were next-door neighbors and best friends. They did typical kid things such as riding bicycles, playing video games and football and forming their own rock `n' roll band.
Until the day Hoyt announced that he was joining the Connecticut National Guard.
"I never saw it coming," Pozzato said Tuesday. "He just wanted to do something. And if he felt like doing something, he did it."
Spec. Hoyt, 21 - born on the 4th of July - was killed Saturday near Camp Taji, Iraq, when a bomb planted in the road detonated beneath his armored Humvee. He was thrown onto the roadway, and as the air filled with smoke was run over by a truck. Hoytwas with a unit escorting trucks loaded with confiscated Iraqi ammunition from Camp Taji, which is northwest of Baghdad, to another base for destruction.
"He died doing what was expected," Pozzato said. "He died a soldier, and he was a damn good one."
Pozzato, 21, remembered that Hoyt, whom he had known since age 3, was a talented drummer and songwriter for their band, called Clarion.
"All our songs had a theme, a point to them: Give it everything you got," Pozzato said. "And everything he did, he did all the way."
At E. O. Smith Tuesday, several teachers recalled Hoyt as a quiet, intelligent, independent student with a sense of humor and a joy for music and life.
"He always had the desire to do the right thing," said Pat Baruzzi. "He was the strong, silent type."
Baruzzi, who had Hoyt in her English class for his junior year, said he would write often about his family, especially his mother, Kathleen Hoyt.
"He really was a fine young man," she said.