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Iowa Army National Guard Sgt. Paul F. Fisher

Died November 6, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

39, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; assigned to Detachment 1, Company F, 106th Aviation Battalion, Army National Guard, based in Davenport, Iowa; died Nov. 6 at the Homburg University Klinikum, Homberg, Germany. Fisher was very seriously injured Nov. 2 when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was riding went down in Fallujah, Iraq.

Iowa soldier killed in Iraq had unflappable spirit

Associated Press

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Army Sgt. Paul Fisher was remembered in a Nov. 15 memorial service at his local union hall as a devoted soldier and husband, but most of all as someone with a gift for making people feel at ease.

Fisher, 39, was a flight engineer aboard a Chinook helicopter shot down Nov. 2 by a surface-to-air missile near Fallujah, Iraq. He was flown to Germany with broken bones and a head injury and died Nov. 6 in a hospital in Hamburg, Germany.

Fisher, an electrician for ESCO Electric, had an unflappable spirit and a smile that almost magically calmed everyone around him, said the Rev. David Dryland, of Bethany Congregational Church in Cedar Rapids.

Nearly 500 people jammed the IBEW Local 405 union hall for Fisher’s memorial service.

Fisher answered to the nicknames “Fish” and “Ringo” and did a dead-on impression of Barney Fife of “The Andy Griffith Show,” said Dryland, who served as Fisher’s journeyman during his electrical apprenticeship.

“He had an ability to look at things in a pretty even way,” Dryland said.

Dryland read a personal remembrance from Fisher’s widow, Karen: “He gave me the best life I could have hoped for. We were truly best friends.”

The couple, who also owned Fisher’s Happytime Bar, had been married for 14 years.

A photograph display included several photos Fisher in uniform with his Army buddies. Another photo showed Fisher firing a can of Silly String.

“If he were here, he would probably encourage us” to share a lighthearted moment together, Dryland said.

Fisher, born in Emmetsburg, enlisted in the Army shortly after graduation from Jefferson High on the city’s west side. He served as a truck driver in the Army from 1982-85 and in the Army Reserve before joining the Iowa National Guard in 1997.

Fisher was one of two Iowa National Guard members killed in the Nov. 2 crash. Sgt. Bruce Smith, 41, of West Liberty, one of the pilots of the helicopter, was buried Tuesday.

Fisher who was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, was buried with full military honors at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery. Police provided an escort along the 5-mile route from the union hall through downtown Cedar Rapids to the cemetery.

Fisher’s widow and stepson, Jason, stood at graveside while Taps was played. Three doves were released. Mourners could hear the roar of an F-16 flyover, unseen because of low cloud cover on a gray day.

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