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Spc. Jeff Hurst, right, speaks during a memorial service Monday for Sgt. Robert Kassin, killed in Afghanistan on July 16. Sgt. John Terry, left, tries to hold back his emotions, while Chaplain Capt. Timothy Thompson listens to the ceremony.

Spc. Jeff Hurst, right, speaks during a memorial service Monday for Sgt. Robert Kassin, killed in Afghanistan on July 16. Sgt. John Terry, left, tries to hold back his emotions, while Chaplain Capt. Timothy Thompson listens to the ceremony. (Leo Shane III / S&S)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE BAYLOUGH, Afghanistan — Friends remembered Sgt. Robert Kassin as someone who thought more about others than himself.

“He always tried to put his soldiers first,” said Sgt. Jeff Terry, a longtime friend of the platoon leader from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry’s Company C. “He tried to know what they’d need, and then make it happen.”

Kassin, 29, was killed on July 16 during a firefight with militants in the Deh Chopan district. Members said he was leading his troops into the fight when he was hit.

On Monday, members of the 2-4 held a memorial service here to honor their fallen comrade, the first soldier from Task Force Warrior killed since the unit arrived in late March.

During the emotional ceremony, soldiers who worked closely with Kassin said he put his family before everything else, but his definition of “family” also included the men he served with.

“All he really wanted was to get back to his wife and kids,” said Spc. Jeff Hurst of 1st Platoon. “But he also told his team, ‘If something should happen, better me than you guys.’”

Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Robinson said in the days leading up to his death, Kassin had premonitions that he might get killed.

“But he still wouldn’t let that keep him from doing his job to the fullest,” he said.

Robinson said Kassin exemplified a true leader, constantly analyzing his mistakes to make himself a better soldier.

“It’s a misfortune that we had to lose him at this time,” he told Kassin’s platoon. “But you did an outstanding job, doing everything you could for him … God would not have taken him unless it was his time.”

Kassin’s widow, Judy, relayed a message to the troops through her husband’s commanding officers: “Tell them to take care of themselves, and make sure they do their job.”


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