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Army Pfc. Zachary S. Salmon

Died January 12, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

21, of Harrison, Ohio; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Jan. 12 at Forward Operating Base Bostick, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered after insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire.

‘The most mundane thing, he made fun’

By Carrie Whitaker

The Cincinnati Enquirer

It was not so long ago that 21-year-old Pfc. Zachary Salmon wore a huge, bright smile as he posed in a July photo with his beaming mother, Renee Lyons Cross, during Family Weekend at Fort Knox, Ky.

Nearer still are conversations with family and friends via Skype and Facebook about the raw beauty of the Afghanistan countryside — minus the guns and the Taliban — said his aunt, Christine Craig of Southeast Indiana.

But Salmon’s family has learned that the young man, who grew up in Harrison and most recently lived in Hebron before joining the Army, died Jan. 12 while on patrol with his platoon.

Salmon was the gunner in an armored vehicle, Craig said, when he was shot and killed by a sniper.

He had not yet completed a full year in the military, having joined in March 2010.

He was shipped out in September for his first deployment.

“The best word to describe him was vibrant,” his aunt said Jan. 13. “The most mundane thing, he made fun.”

She said Salmon joined the military because “he wanted to better himself and give his son something to be proud of.”

Salmon’s 3-year-old son, Noah, lives with his mother in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., where Salmon graduated high school, Craig said.

Craig said her nephew expressed his pleasure in the Army and was considering it as a career.

A member of the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell, Ky., Salmon was a cavalry scout and very proud of it, Craig said.

He leaves behind his mother and stepfather; his father, Steven Salmon; a brother, Steven Salmon; two sisters, Kelsi Salmon and Katrin Maurer; and his son and extended family, Craig said.

His mother boarded a plane Jan. 13 to be at Dover Air Force Base, Del., when her son’s body returned to American soil.

“I know his mother wants everybody to know how proud she was of him – we all are,” Craig said.

Left behind parents, girlfriend, 3-year-old son

The Associated Press

Zack Salmon loved joking around with his family and friends. After the young soldier from Pigeon Forge, Tenn., deployed to Afghanistan in September, he stayed connected to them through video chats on Skype.

“The best word to describe him was vibrant,” his aunt Christine Craig told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The most mundane thing, he made fun.”

But Salmon also had serious side. One of the main reasons he enlisted was to better take care of his 3-year-old son, Noah.

“He wanted to better himself and give his son something to be proud of,” Craig said.

Salmon, 21, who joined the Army just six months before his deployment, died Jan. 12 in Kunar province after an attack on his unit. He was assigned to Fort Campbell, Ky.

Salmon was an Ohio native who moved to Tennessee as a teenager. He graduated from Pigeon Forge High School in 2008.

He also leaves behind his parents, Renee Lyons Cross and Steven Salmon; and his girlfriend, Keely McCarter.

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