Based: Vilseck, Germany
3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: October 18, 2007
Baghdad (eastern part), Iraq
Hometown: Lone Pine
High School: Lone Pine High (Lone Pine)
Burial: Mt. Whitney Cemetery, Lone Pine, Calif.
Geiger's father, Randy, a lieutenant in the Inyo County Sheriff's Department, and his mother, Kim, a civil officer in the department, said he joined the Army in 2005 to put his take-control abilities, confidence and courage to work on the battlefield in Iraq.Read the entire LA Times article about Army Specialist Wayne M. Geiger here, read more here and visit his Guest Book here.
Nine days after his death, more than 2,000 people lined up along a desolate stretch of U.S. Highway 395 with hats off and right hands over their hearts as his body was escorted by a motorcade of law enforcement and fire department vehicles to a funeral service at the Lone Pine High gymnasium, where he once played.
A graveside service followed at Mt. Whitney Cemetery, where dozens of friends and neighbors signed a basketball that was buried alongside the casket.
Weeks later, staring out a living room window facing Mt. Whitney, Geiger's father said, "Wayne was a born athlete. When he was still in diapers, Wayne liked to wear a plastic Raiders football helmet and tackle anyone who came through the front door."
In high school, Geiger was rambunctious and edgy, leaving some to wonder how he would harness all that energy.
Wayne M. Geiger with his sister.
He did so in the Army. Even his parents and sister, Jesseca, 20, were surprised by the difference a few months in the military made in him.
"He'd greet you with a firm handshake, and when he spoke, he looked you right in the eye," his father said. "One day, I asked him, 'Wayne, where did you get this sense of duty and patriotism? I never saw this in you before.' "
He said his son smiled and said, "Dad, you weren't looking hard enough."