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- Operation Inherent Resolve
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- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles L. Adkins
Died April 16, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
36, of Sandusky, Ohio; assigned to 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; died April 16 at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an Afghan National Army soldier attacked him with multiple grenades. Also killed were Capt. Charles E. Ridgley Jr., Staff Sgt. Cynthia R. Taylor, Sgt. Linda L. Pierre and Spc. Joseph B. Cemper.
Names of Fort Campbell soldiers killed in grenade attack released
The (Clarksville, Tenn.) Leaf Chronicle
Fort Campbell on Tuesday released information on the four 101st Airborne Division soldiers killed Saturday in Afghanistan.
They died April 16 at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an Afghan National Army soldier attacked them with multiple grenades.
All four soldiers were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade.
* Sgt. 1st Class Charles Lewis Adkins, 35, of Sandusky, Ohio was a maintenance supervisor.
He joined the Army in November 1995 and arrived at Fort Campbell in June 2002.
Adkins is survived by his wife, Sarah C. Adkins; sons, Garrhett C. Adkins and Gavin M. Adkins; daughters, Makayla R. L. Adkins, Mackenzie S. Adkins and Gabriella G. Adkins, all of Clarksville. He is also survived by his parents, Charles E. Adkins of Milan, Ohio and Shelia Good of Hudson, Mich.
* Staff Sgt. Cynthia Renea Taylor, 39, of Columbus, Ga. was a wheeled vehicle mechanic.
She joined the Army in November 2003 and arrived at Fort Campbell in April 2004.
Taylor is survived by her daughter, Maggie J. Taylor of Clarksville and son, Joseph L. Goodwin of Oak Grove, Ky. She is also survived by her mother, Judy A. Hart of Clarksville.
* Sgt. Linda Lamou Pierre, 28, of Immokalee, Fla., was a human resources specialist.
She joined the Army in November 2006 and arrived at Fort Campbell in September 2009.
She is survived by her father, Jean Lamour and mother, Elvina Pierre, both of Immokalee, Fla.
* Spc. Joseph Brian Cemper, 21, of Warrensburg, Mo. was a transportation management coordinator.
He joined the Army in September 2009 and arrived at Fort Campbell in February 2010.
He is survived by his son, Liam Cemper of North Richland Hills, Tex. and his parents, Eugene B. Cemper and Angela D. Cemper of North Richland Hills, Texas.
Also killed was Capt. Charles E. Ridgley Jr., 40, of Baltimore, Md. He was assigned to the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska.
People line streets of hometown to welcome home Adkins
By James Proffitt
The (Fremont, Ohio) News-Messenger
CASTALIA, Ohio — A Castalia native, described as a brave soldier, returned home for the last time April 28 to the small Erie County community where he grew up, accompanied by a full escort, hundreds of American flags and too many tears to count.
“This is one of our best friend’s sons,” said Wendell Fields shortly after the hearse carrying Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Adkins, 36, passed by. “I’ve known him since he was a little kid.”
Adkins was one of four other NATO trainers killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on April 16.
The 16-year Army veteran was a 1993 graduate of Margaretta High School. Adkins left behind his wife, Sarah, and five children.
Castalia resident Betty Kinney was one of hundreds of area residents that lined the streets of the small, quiet community to witness the procession of fire equipment, motorcycles and police cruisers that escorted Adkins’ remains from Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland.
“His dad goes to church with us,” Kinney said. “It’s such a sad thing. That was his only child.”
Kinney said Adkins was nearing the end of his military career.
“After he came back from over there he was going to retire,” she said.
Kinney said she was surprised to see so many people turn out for the sad event. But, she said, she was glad.
“He went to school here, graduated here. He was a hometown boy,” Kinney said.
As the procession passed the intersection of Water and Main streets, it drove beneath a giant American flag suspended by a pair of Huron Township and Sandusky fire department ladder trucks, flapping, often violently, in the blustery afternoon sky. A white church steeple stood in the background.
Austin Riley, a 14-year-old Margaretta High School student, stood on the curb somberly with his mother, Michele.
“I’m here to pay my respects,” he said. “I really appreciate what he did for us, sacrificing his life and everything.”
His mom, who graduated from high school with Adkins, said he was a great guy.
“Always smiling,” she said. “He was an all-around great guy. He loved basketball.”
Bayview resident Darren Draper was one of a half-dozen men who helped anchor the flag as the firefighters worked against the wind to get it hung.
“I’m here to pay tribute to him,” Draper said.
Draper said he hasn’t fought in any wars, but Adkins’ sacrifice, and others, isn’t lost on him.
“I’m a peacetime vet,” he said. “There’s only peace because there are veterans.”
As Fields stood, hugging his weeping wife, he said Adkins died trying to help others.
“He died with honor,” Fields said. “Saving people when the bomb went off. That’s what we were told.”
Fields said more than a few people are upset by his death.
“One thing about Chuck, make sure you put this in there,” he advised, “his smile. To say he will be missed sorely is an understatement.”
Friends, strangers pay respects to Adkins
By James Proffitt
The (Fremont, Ohio) News-Messenger
CASTALIA, Ohio — Hundreds of mourners turned out from at least a half dozen states April 29 for the visitation for Army Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Adkins, 36, one of 10 people killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on April 16.
Adkins is survived by his wife of 14 years, Sarah, and five children.
“We’re just here to pay our respects,” said Fred Voss, who came with eight other members of the Marine Corps League, a veterans’ group that spends a good deal of time appearing at services to honor veterans — in this case, an American hero killed in the line of duty.
“It was very sober, very quiet,” Voss said of the atmosphere inside the gym at Margaretta Elementary School.
Voss said he and others in the Marine Corps League will always be there if needed.
“If a family requests it, we’ll be there,” he said.
On April 28, hundreds more lined the streets of Castalia for the motorcade that brought Adkins’s casket home. The procession included fire trucks, police vehicles and motorcycles.
Adkins had served 16 years and had already completed two tours of duty overseas. When he was killed, he was working to train Afghan soldiers.
George Mylander, chairman of the Erie County Veteran’s Memorial Park, attended the service.
“We waited at least an hour,” the Korean War veteran said.
Mylander wore his Ohio Veteran’s Hall of Fame medal, which he received in 1999.
“I only wear it on special occasions,” he noted sadly. “Every year I hope it’s the last.”
But Mylander didn’t sound hopeful.
“I don’t think it’s over,” he said.
Carl Sberna was one of the nine members with the Marine Corps League.
“We went up to the coffin,” he said somberly. “We did a right face and a salute in slow cadence. Everything gets quiet then.”
The streets of Castalia were lined with thousands of small flags. Those on poles were at half-staff.
Adkins was a 1993 graduate of Margaretta High School. A sign on the school’s lawn thanked him, reading “Thanks for serving our country our hometown hero. Chuck Adkins RIP. MHS Class of 93.”
Dawn Wooding and Tamara Nestor drove from Lorain County on behalf of the Blue Star Mothers of America, a service organization for mothers of active service members or veterans.
“We presented the Gold Star banner to the family members of the fallen hero,” she said.
Wooding said there haven’t been a lot of soldiers from our area killed.
“This area has been extremely fortunate,” she said. “There have been a lot in southern Ohio.”
Nestor’s son is serving in the Air Force in Iraq. She said she worries about him every day.
“I haven’t heard from him in three weeks,” she noted. “But no news is good news.”
Wooding’s son has served overseas, but has returned and is stationed in Washington.
“There was a lot of tears and crying,” Wooding said. “A lot of smiles, too.”
She said although she didn’t know Adkins personally, she’s learned a lot about him.
“I heard he was a brave young man,” she said. “He was obviously a brave soldier doing his duty.”
According to Wooding, family told her what Adkins would say about the incident in Afghanistan, if he could.
“‘I was just doing my job,’ ” she said.