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Army Spc. Shawn D. Sykes

Died May 7, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

28, of Portsmouth, Va.; assigned to 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died May 7 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds sustained from an accident that occurred May 5 at Combat Outpost Crazy Horse, Iraq.

Sykes promised to take care of family

The Associated Press

When Shawn D. Sykes came home in April for a two-week break from his second Iraq deployment, he and his family went out to eat and went bowling.

“We just had so much fun,” said his mother, Marion Cotton.

Sykes gave her $200 for groceries, $200 to go shopping for herself, bought her a freezer and gave gifts to his sisters. He told his two youngest sisters, ages 7 and 10, that he would start an allowance for them if they did well in school.

“That was the kind of person my son was,” Cotton said. “We have so much fun when we get together, and we love each other.”

Sykes, 28, of Portsmouth, Va., died May 7 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, of wounds suffered when a propane tank exploded in his face May 5 at Combat Outpost Crazy Horse. He was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.

Sykes was in the Marine Corps before enlisting in the Army.

A family friend recently pointed Cotton to something on her son’s MySpace page that she hadn’t seen. His heroes, he wrote, were “My Momma and grandma.”

“He always had something encouraging to say to make me feel better,” she said.

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