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Soldiers pause as taps is played during a memorial ceremony for Capt. Kafele Sims Tuesday in a chapel on Tompkins Barracks. Sims, 32, died June 16th in Mosul, Iraq, in a non-combat related incident while serving as a physician's assistant with the 18th Engineer Brigade.

Soldiers pause as taps is played during a memorial ceremony for Capt. Kafele Sims Tuesday in a chapel on Tompkins Barracks. Sims, 32, died June 16th in Mosul, Iraq, in a non-combat related incident while serving as a physician's assistant with the 18th Engineer Brigade. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

Soldiers pause as taps is played during a memorial ceremony for Capt. Kafele Sims Tuesday in a chapel on Tompkins Barracks. Sims, 32, died June 16th in Mosul, Iraq, in a non-combat related incident while serving as a physician's assistant with the 18th Engineer Brigade.

Soldiers pause as taps is played during a memorial ceremony for Capt. Kafele Sims Tuesday in a chapel on Tompkins Barracks. Sims, 32, died June 16th in Mosul, Iraq, in a non-combat related incident while serving as a physician's assistant with the 18th Engineer Brigade. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

Capt. Kafele Sims, 32, died June 16th in Mosul, Iraq, in an incident not related to combat while serving as a physician's assistant with the 18th Engineer Brigade.

Capt. Kafele Sims, 32, died June 16th in Mosul, Iraq, in an incident not related to combat while serving as a physician's assistant with the 18th Engineer Brigade. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army)

Sgt. Samuel Ghormley plays taps as Pvt. 1st Class Chad Finholt looks on.

Sgt. Samuel Ghormley plays taps as Pvt. 1st Class Chad Finholt looks on. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

SCHWETZINGEN, Germany — Ten months ago, Capt. Kafele Sims saved the life of Spc. Brian Quinonez.

On Tuesday, Quinonez said farewell to Sims, the physician assistant who diagnosed him with appendicitis last August. Quinonez had persistent gas pains and went to see Sims.

"Within five minutes, [Sims] said, ‘You have acute appendicitis,’" Quinonez said. "I can’t tell you what happened 20 minutes later because I was knocked out and in surgery. I do know that I am here today because of [Sims’] actions and decisions. That day he saved my life."

Sims, 32, of Los Angeles, died June 16 in Mosul, Iraq, in a noncombat-related incident. The cause of Sims’ death is still under investigation, said Bruce Anderson, U.S. Army Europe spokesman. Sims was assigned to the 18th Engineer Brigade in Schwetzingen.

About 75 soldiers and a few civilians gathered Tuesday afternoon in a small chapel on Tompkins Barracks for Sims’ memorial ceremony.

Last July, Sims joined the brigade in Iraq, where he provided health care to more than 6,000 soldiers and civilians.

Sims is survived by his wife, Masako, and three children, ranging in age from 1 to 4 years old.

Col. Matt Russell, 18th Engineer Brigade commander, spoke to Sims’ wife after she learned of her husband’s death. Sims’ family was his world, according to Russell’s comments, read aloud at Tuesday’s ceremony.

"Just start a conversation and in just a few minutes, [Sims would] have you on the subject of his family," according to Russell’s comments. "His family provided him with his spirit — a spirit that made him who he was."

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