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Army Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Garyantes

Died May 18, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

34, of Rehoboth, Del.; assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Vilseck, Germany; killed May 18 by sniper fire while on a combat patrol in Muqdadiyah, Iraq.

Delaware native killed in Iraq

By Randall Chase

Associated Press

DOVER, Del. — A Delaware native was shot and killed by a sniper in Iraq, family members said Wednesday.

Army Sgt. Joseph Garyantes, 34, was killed while his tank unit was on patrol near Baghdad, said his brother, Stephen Garyantes, 39, of Milton.

Garyantes said his brother’s wife, Monika, alerted relatives Tuesday after military officials told her of her husband’s death.

“It was a sniper shooting,” Stephen Garyantes said.

Joseph Garyantes, who lived with his wife and two young sons in Germany, was sent to Iraq in late February, his brother said.

Delaware soldier killed in Iraq sniper attack

DOVER, Del. — A soldier from Delaware was shot and killed by a sniper in Iraq, family members said Wednesday.

Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Garyantes, 34, a 1987 graduate of Fort Myers Christian School in Florida, was killed when his tank unit, part of the 1st Infantry Division, was on patrol north of Baghdad.

Stephen Garyantes, 39, of Milton, said his brother’s wife, Monika, was told Tuesday of her husband’s death.

An Army spokeswoman confirmed that Joseph Garyantes, a member of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 63rd Armored Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany, was killed by small-arms fire.

Stephen Garyantes said the widow was told it was “a sniper shooting.”

The Department of Defense said Garyantes’ unit was fired on from a cemetery while patrolling near Muqdadiyah, about 50 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Garyantes, who lived with his wife and two young sons in Germany, was sent to Iraq in late February, his brother said. He said his brother spent the first several weeks in Iraq training and began combat missions only about three weeks ago.

Corresponding with his brother by computer a couple of weeks ago, the sergeant complained about the lack of electricity and hot water but said troops were trying to keep their spirits up.

“He just said, ‘Don’t worry. I’m OK. I haven’t seen any action,”’ his brother recalled.

Family members were coping with the news as best they could.

“We have faith in God that he’s going to pull us through this,” Stephen Garyantes said. “There are people going through the same thing we are. You question the war and you wonder. I just hope it’s all worth it.”

Garyantes, a career soldier, spent most of his childhood growing up in Sussex County, Del. He joined the Army in February 1991 after moving back from Florida.

“He only lived in Fort Myers a year, but he loved it there,” a sister, Jean Marie Shipley of Milton, told the (Fort Myers) News-Press. “In the short time he was there, he made lots of friends. He really did touch lives.”

Garyantes moved to Fort Myers in 1986 with his mother, Geraldine Garyantes, who survives him. She returned to Delaware after two years.

“We just want everyone to know that he loved his job and he believed in what he was doing in Iraq,” said the sister. “He cared for people more than himself.”

Stephen Garyantes also said his brother was a dedicated family man and a fierce competitor who enjoyed playing basketball in his spare time.

“He was a good man; he was a good father to his boys,” he said.

In addition to his wife, and sons ages 5 and 7, Garyantes is survived by his mother and five siblings, all of whom live in Delaware.

Arrangements were being made for Garyantes’ funeral and burial in Germany. A memorial service is planned for Saturday at the Dagsboro Church of God.

— Associated Press

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