Staff Sgt. Garth D. Sizemore

Staff Sgt. Garth D. Sizemore (Photo courtesy to S&S)

SCHWEINFURT, Germany — Every seat in the Ledward Barracks chapel was filled Tuesday morning as the Schweinfurt military community came to pay its respects to a fallen hero.

Staff Sgt. Garth D. Sizemore, 31, of Mount Sterling, Ky., died Oct. 17 in Baghdad from injuries suffered when his patrol came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire during combat operations, said a Department of Defense release. Remembered as a professional who could balance work and play, Sizemore had been in the Army since 1999 and was on his second yearlong rotation in Iraq.

“He possessed a perfect balance of a work-play attitude, which was exactly what the young soldiers of his squad needed in training and in combat. He cared deeply for each and every member of his platoon — soldiers, peers and leaders alike,” Capt. Michael Baka, Sizemore’s commander in Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, said in a statement read at the ceremony.

“I loved working with Staff Sgt. Sizemore because he took his job very seriously and made sure everyone else took their job seriously as well,” said Staff Sgt. Raja Richardson, a Bradley fighting vehicle commander with Sizemore in Company C. “When young soldiers arrived to the unit, Staff Sgt. Sizemore would always remind us by saying, ‘These young privates don’t know nothing but what we teach them.’”

Back from Iraq while recovering from a combat injury, Richardson said that one of the last conversations he had with Sizemore made him re-think his own opinions on being deployed. “About one week before I left Iraq, I had a conversation with Garth, and I asked him how he felt about being in Iraq for a second time. His response was, ‘Hey man, I’d rather be at home with my wife drinking Russian vodka all day and giving my cat a hard time, but if fighting the enemy here in Iraq keeps the enemy from fighting me in my own country, then this is where I belong.’”

Sizemore had recently re-enlisted to be stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., so he could be closer to home and so his family could meet his wife, Elena, with whom he’d been married less than a year, Baka said.

Survived by his wife, father Glenn and mother Carolin, Sizemore was the fifth member of Task Force Blue Spader killed during the present deployment. The unit left Germany in early August as the lead element of the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

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