Schweinfurt remembers 1-4 Cavalry soldier killed in Iraq
January 28, 2005
When a job needed doing, Sgt. Kyle Childress always stood up and led.
He headed the sniper team for the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, manned the gun on his Bradley fighting vehicle and led the house assault teams more than 150 times during his 11 months in Iraq.
On Jan. 21, Childress’ leadership cost him his life. A man opened fire from inside as he led his platoon into a house in Ad Duluiyah, Iraq, in search of enemy fighters. He died later at a combat hospital in Balad.
Friends from the 1-4 Cavalry’s rear detachment gathered Thursday at an Army chapel in Schweinfurt, Germany, to remember a man they described as quiet and tough, a soldier’s soldier.
“Anyone in this unit and the men of his platoon would tell you when the going gets tough, it is a blessing to have Kyle around,” said Staff Sgt. Bradley Shadden, a 1-4 Cavalry soldier who served with Childress in Iraq until he was wounded. “His bravery was unmatched.”
Childress grew up in Terre Haute, Ind., where he graduated from high school in 1994. Five years later he enlisted in the Army, where he trained as a scout. He served with the 3rd Infantry Division before moving joining 1-4 Cavalry’s Troop A in mid-2002. He deployed to Iraq with the unit last February.
Shadden recalled Childress’ arrival at 1-4 Cavalry, where he stood out because he said so little.
“He was one tough nut to crack,” Shadden said.
He let few people get close. When he did speak, friends said, he made it count. He might offer a pungent joke or a blunt criticism, but he chose his words carefully and didn’t sweat the small stuff.
In a tribute read at the service, Childress platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Garcia, told the fallen soldier what he would remember most about him.
“You kept us laughing with your no-nonsense approach to life, and you made it clear about how you felt when we had to accomplish something that did not make total sense,” Garcia said.
“You would say ‘That’s [expletive].’ But you would still pack it up and get you and your men ready, no matter what. You always got the job done.”
Childress’ superiors said he had a gift for soldiering. He could learn any battle skill quickly and well. He led more than 1,000 hours of urban combat operations.
“He was capable of doing lots of tasks to a high level of expertise,” said Capt. Cory Mack, his troop commander, in remarks read at the service. “On raids he normally served as the No. 1 man — the most dangerous position — in the four-man stack. He did this because he was the best at it.”
Childress is survived by his parents, Keith and Nancy Childress, a brother, Jason, a sister, Gretta, and his German fiancée, Kerstin Beck.
He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.