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WüRZBURG, Germany — Staff Sgt. Terrence Balkissoon survived the rigors of Iraq, only to fall victim to the mean streets of New York.

Stunned friends from the 1st Infantry Division’s headquarters company gathered Wednesday at the Leighton Barracks chapel in Würzburg to remember the supply sergeant, three weeks after a man gunned him down outside a bar in Brooklyn.

“He had arguably one of the most difficult jobs in the company,” said his commanding officer, Capt. J.R. West, in comments from Iraq read at Wednesday’s service. “Yet his answer to everything was ‘Yes sir,’” and somehow he would complete the mission.”

Balkissoon grew up on the island of Trinidad, the oldest of 13 children. His family immigrated to New York when he was 16, and two years later he enlisted in the Army after earning his general equivalency degree.

He served tours at Camp Casey, South Korea, and Fort Stewart, Ga., as a unit supply specialist before arriving at 1st ID. He deployed with the unit to Iraq last spring, where he worked at Forward Operating Base Danger in Tikrit.

Balkissoon had flown home to New York for his midtour leave just before Christmas. Just before he was scheduled to return to Iraq, he had attended a private birthday party at a Caribbean nightclub with two of his brothers, The New York Times reported.

About 5:20 a.m. outside the bar, according to news media accounts, a man opened fire on Balkissoon and one of his brothers — possibly in a fit of jealousy after Balkissoon accidentally bumped into the man’s girlfriend. Two days later, a man turned himself in to police and was charged with second- degree murder.

The killing stunned both family and friends, who described Balkissoon as a devoted family man who would never seek trouble. His friends remembered his sunny, upbeat personality and always-present smile.

“Anyone who ever spent time with Staff Sgt. Balkissoon was impacted by his kindness,” West said in his eulogy. “No matter what the situation, after listening to [him], you couldn’t help but laugh and smile.”

Balkissoon is survived by his wife, April; two children, Aaron and Jayda; and two stepchildren, Briana and Trevon, who live in Brooklyn. He was buried at a military cemetery in Marietta, Ga.


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