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Army Staff Sgt. Bryant W. Mackey

Died February 20, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

30, of Eureka, Kan.; assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas; died Feb. 20 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds sustained when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle.

Fallen staff sgt. remembered as selfless, hard worker

The Associated Press

Maj. David Olsen, who worked for about eight months with Army Staff Sgt. Bryant W. Mackey, described him as a “quiet professional” who always put his soldiers before himself.

“I needed experienced leaders to prepare all of these young soldiers for the war in Iraq,” he said, and Mackey “was one of the hardest workers in my troop.” Olsen recalled when Mackey injured his foot, refusing to take time off even though he couldn’t put his boot on.

Mackey, 30, of Eureka, Kan., was killed Feb. 20 in Mosul, Iraq, when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle. He was a 1996 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.

“On his second combat tour, even to his last breath, he would not give up,” Brig. Gen. David Quantock told Mackey’s family and friends at the funeral.

Mackey enjoyed football, especially watching the Washington Redskins and Kansas State Wildcats. Trained to drive tanks, Mackey enlisted in August 2001. He had been injured in his first tour, trying to move a comrade out of harm’s way, said his mother, Karen Nielsen.

He also is survived by his wife, Marie, and children, 10-year-old Ryan, 7-year-old Koby, and 5-year-old Stephanie.

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