VILSECK, Germany — Cpl. Wayne Marshall Geiger was “born to serve,” and the military community here came together to remember his sacrifice Thursday at the Rose Barracks chapel.

A native of Lone Pine, Calif., Geiger was killed in action Oct. 18 in Baghdad when a roadside bomb detonated while he was on combat patrol with his unit. He was 23.

In the Army for just over two years, Geiger was previously stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash. He moved to Vilseck in July 2006, when the Dragoons of 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment moved into their new home, and deployed to Iraq with Company H, 3rd Squadron, on Aug. 11.

“Those of us who knew Wayne had uniform respect and admiration for his sense of humor, athletic prowess and dedication to his duties as a soldier,” said Maj. Thomas Rickard, commander of the 2nd SCR rear detachment.

“He was born to serve,” Rickard said, telling of Geiger’s parents, Randall, a former sailor, and Kimberly, who both serve with the Inyo County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department. “He was raised right, by a family with tremendous faith and pride in our nation.”

Before deploying, Geiger spoke to his father of his decision to join the military. His father recently recounted for a casualty assistance officer the conversation.

“You may not have noticed, but I’ve been watching what’s been going on since (Sept. 11, 2001),” the father recalled his son saying. “It’s not fair watching our men and women make sacrifices and me not doing my share. I want to be on the front lines with all the rest doing the fighting. ... It’s infantry or nothing!”

In addition to his parents, Geiger is survived by his sister, Jessica.

Although the Dragoons have been hit hard, losing nine soldiers since their deployment began, they have been striking back hard.

“Our regiment has punctured the heart of the al-Qaida stronghold in the East Rashid, Hadar and Doura districts (of Baghdad),” Rickard said. “In fewer than eight weeks, Corporal Geiger and his Dragoon teammates found over 100 improvised explosive devices … 20 weapons caches … and have captured over 40 terrorists.”

The men of 2nd SCR spend their time clearing house after house in each neighborhood and district, despite the ever-present threat of buildings wired to explode on top of them. They also have been helping to stabilize local government and Iraqi security forces, and aiding locals who wish to get on with their daily lives, Rickard said.

“Corporal Geiger saw firsthand the great reward of fighting for basic human freedoms and the progress of a fledgling democracy. He did his duty — superbly — and we are extremely grateful,” Rickard said.

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