Saturday, July 11, 2009


No. 491-09 July 08, 2009
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Capt. Mark A. Garner, 30, of North Carolina, died July 6 in Argandab District, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany.

I'm just so tired of the MJ threads. I am posting this in honor and memory of a Fallen Soldier from my hometown. His mother was my biology teacher in high school. I just thought this board (no one in particular) could use some perspective. This is not about the wrongs and rights of war. This is about taking a minute to read about a real role model. Again, I'm not stirring the pot. I just want people to think beyond the loss of celebrities for a moment. RIP Capt Garner. Thank you for reading....

Statement from the family of U.S. Army Capt. Mark Garner, 30, native of State Road, North Carolina and graduate of Elkin High School and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Please feel free to forward this along as needed.

Mark was traveling as a passenger in an M-1151 Humvee with a convoy of U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialists when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device killing him and another passenger. Other occupants of the vehicle traveling in southeast Afghanistan were injured.

We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the families of Mark’s fallen comrades and the families of the sailors who were injured in the attack. Know that we will pray for their speedy recovery. Please be praying for the safety of the nearly 200 soldiers in Mark’s company currently fighting this difficult fight as well as dealing with the loss of their company commander. We pray that they will all return safely to Hohenfels, Germany to be with their families.

As difficult as this is to accept, it is made easier by the thought that Mark was happy and content as a Soldier. Mark died doing the job he loved, and we will cherish fond memories of him forever. He was a dedicated Soldier, and we are very proud of him.

There are no words to express how much Mark will be missed by his family and friends and the others who had the privilege to know him. His memory will forever remain in our hearts as people share fond stories of Mark, many of which include comments about his larger-than-life smile and depth of character.

Mark loved his family beyond words, especially his parents, Beth and Don, and his sisters, Jo and Rachel, and often spoke very fondly of his time growing up in the Elkin area. He loved his family, loved his country, loved the Army lifestyle and loved exploring new and exciting places. He enjoyed running and spending time with his fellow Soldiers, but the two main things he was wild about were his wife and traveling.

When questioned he would say he loved traveling and his wife, and nothing could be better than traveling with his wife, Nickayla.He visited 52 countries in the last 12 years, places where most people never go, such as Indonesia, China, Bulgaria, Transdiniestria and Albania.

Mark loved to drive and explore, so most of his travels were by car. He had his free-time travel planned out for three years in advance, but there just was never enough time for all of his ambitious and exciting travel plans.

Although we don’t know anything about his last few minutes, he was probably talking to the sailors in his convoy about his travels.

In Elkin and at all his military assignments, including ranger training, Mark was remembered for his positive attitude and friendly smile. Everyone enjoyed being around Mark, because he was always happy and was the ultimate optimist.

Although full of confidence, he blushed easily, especially from Nickayla’s antics, which he loved.

Mark was the commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, stationed in Hohenfels, Germany. His unit’s mission in Afghanistan was to support the United Nations International Security Assistance Force as part of Task Force Zabul under the operational control of the Romanian Army.The Soldiers in Mark’s company not only patrolled their area of operations for enemy activity, but also did development work. This included training and mentoring Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, establishing schools and health clinics, distributing food and farm equipment and helping health care providers treat diseases in adults and children.

Thank-you, UK.

Digtriad with a video

The incident also claimed the life of Petty Officer Second Class Tony Michael Randolph, a 22-year-old from Henryetta, Oklahoma.

"It would be hard for someone to say something bad about Mark," Ballard said. "He never sought attention or recognition. He was very unassuming and friendly. He was just a nice guy."

Local comments at

Well said in the Winston-Salem Journal "No Better Soldier" editorial and its reply:
Abraham Lincoln wrote a Mrs. Bixby the following letter.

"I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom. "

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln

Mark comes home..

Army Captain’s Death Hits Small Town Hard

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