Monday, May 16, 2011

Steven M. Packer, Army, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

Steven M. Packer, 23

Army, Sergeant
Based: Ft. Drum, N.Y.
2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: May 17, 2007
Rushdi Mullah, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Clovis
High School: Clovis High (Clovis)
Burial: Fresno Memorial Gardens, Fresno

"He just longed to be back home with his family,"
his mother said.

Soldier Memorialized at Distant Patrol Base
By Sgt. Christina Mc Cann
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division

FORWARD OPERATING BASE DRAGON, Iraq – It was a great loss to Company A when Sgt. Steven Packer, from Fort Drum, N.Y., was killed May 17. He was mourned during a memorial ceremony Saturday at Patrol Base Dragon, Iraq.

Soldiers of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) paused from their duties as warriors to remember one of their fallen.

Sgt. Jairo Aquino, a member of the unit and a native of New York, N.Y., was close to Packer.

“I was deployed before with him,” Aquino said. “I called him Richie Rich, because he looked like the cartoon character. He was funny, a good friend, and would always help. The first time I deployed with him, it was only three weeks after I got to the unit, and he was the first person I met in the company. He helped me, on and off duty both. He was by my side through everything I’ve been through here.”

Sgt. Mike Schoenbauer, a team leader with the company, was visibly emotional as he spoke about Packer.

He said they met at basic training in 2002 and became fast friends, were sent to 2-14 at the same time, deployed together with the unit in 2003 and again in 2006.

“He would always stop what he was doing to help someone … My emotion is because I miss him. It was an honor to serve with him,” said Schoenbauer.

He recalled a time after their arrival at Fort Drum when most Soldiers were gone on block leave, but he and Packer had just taken leave to move to the new post, and stayed behind. They were placed on gate guard over Christmas. To make up for a lousy holiday, they spent New Year’s Eve in the barracks hallway, boxing.

“That ended up with Steve on the floor, knocked out,” Schoenbauer said, laughing despite his sadness.

Schoenbauer said that the company received a letter from Packer’s stepfather – a turnabout from the usual letters written by comrades to the family – that said the unit had their “deepest condolences.”

“We should honor him, his family, his sacrifice, until our mission is complete,” Schoenbauer said. “Then we can raise a glass to Steve, and to all our brothers lost.”
In addition to his mother and stepfather, Packer is survived by a brother, Christopher, 24; a sister, Danielle, 20; and two half brothers, Jason and Zachary, both 6.

Read an LA Times article about Army Sergeant
Steven M. Packer,
find more at Military Times
and visit Sergeant Packer's Guest Book.
Command Sgt. Maj. Clyde Glenn, mourns fallen comrade Sgt. Steven Packer at a memorial ceremony May 26 at Patrol Base Dragon, Iraq. Packer was killed May 17 by an improvised explosive device. \

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