Vilseck honors 2nd Stryker soldier at memorial service
VILSECK, Germany — Rose Barracks Cavalry chapel was quiet Monday, as soldiers and civilians walked in pairs to pay final respects to Staff Sgt. David D. Self, who died from wounds suffered in an insurgent attack with a makeshift bomb in Afghanistan’s Zabul province.
Self, 29, from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, was days away from returning home with his unit.
Spc. Bradley L. Melton, Pvt. Lamarol J. Tucker and Pvt. Cheizray Pressley were also killed. They were assigned to the Brigade Troops Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based at Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks, Alaska.
The unit saw almost daily combat during their yearlong deployment.
“Last mission, first mission ... why now? It just doesn’t seem fair,” said Lt. Col. Steven Bergosh, commander of Fires Squadron, 2nd SCR, whose remarks from a memorial service in Afghanistan were read during the Vilseck service.
The 2nd SCR had already cased its colors to return from Afghanistan when Self, of Pearl, Miss., was killed 369 days into the deployment while training his replacements.
Self was remembered as an exceptional leader who always placed his soldiers’ needs before his own. He always maintained his composure and knew everything there was to know about his Stryker vehicle, said Capt. Ronald Gevry, Self’s troop commander. His remarks also were read during the ceremony.
Gevry said Self was always there for his soldiers.
“He led from the front, always staying with [his soldiers] until the mission was completed,” said Gevry. “When it was difficult, he was there. When they were tired, he was there. When they were hungry, he was there. He was always there.”
It was these same soldiers and friends who were there during the ceremony, who battled through their emotions to pay their respects. Several soldiers placed their own combat patches, American flags and combat action badges onto the memorial.
“We will remember that you were always ready for any mission — even your last,” said Bergosh.
Self is survived by his parents Eddie and Linda Self, according to the program at the service.