Saturday, May 22, 2010

Remembering a Fallen Comrade

Pfc. Ronald Simpson, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, remembers his fallen comrade, Sgt. Anthony O'Neal Magee, Company A, during a memorial service May 8, 2010, at Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Iraq. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Natalie Hedrick)

By Staff Sgt. Natalie Hedrick

COS KALSU, Iraq – Soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, gathered at the chapel at Contingency Operating Site Kalsu May 8, 2010, to remember their fallen comrade, Sgt. Anthony O'Neal Magee from Hattiesburg, Miss.

Magee, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd HBCT, survived three days before passing away, April 27, from wounds suffered during an indirect fire attack on COS Kalsu.
According to Col. Robert Ashe, commander of 2nd Bn., 69th AR, after being wounded, Magee was moved to safety by another injured Soldier. Immediately, other Soldiers came to help, using the shirts off their backs as bandages.

Tireless efforts were taken to save his life at the COS Kalsu aid station, the hospital in Balad, Iraq, and finally the hospital in Germany where he passed. Magee's final act was to serve as an organ donor.

At the memorial service, Ashe said the actions of all involved gave Magee's family time to say their final goodbyes. He is survived by his wife Courtney, his son Kameron, and his parents, Tony and Patricia Davis.

Two of his many friends, Spc. Bryan Hammers and Pfc. Ronald Simpson, brought the spirit of Magee alive as they took the audience through a journey of his life as they knew him.

"He would not have wanted me to stand here today and dwell on the negativity of the situation," Hammers said. "If Magee were here today, I guarantee you his exact words would be, 'Quit crying about it; life's too short.'"

Simpson further confirmed Magee's upbeat and hearted spirit.

"Anthony Magee would not want us to sit here and mourn over his death," he said. "He would rather see us celebrate the life he lived. If it were up to him, he'd have a 48-hour party."

The room broke out in laughter as his two comrades described special moments they shared with their friend.

"Magee's favorite thing to do was get into a combatives match with someone…heck, anyone," Hammers said. "I can still hear him as I'm sure many of you have heard him say before, 'Keep talking. Say something. I'll ball you up.'"

The audience nodded as Simpson illustrated scenes almost all of them had witnessed.
"What I remember about Sgt. Magee is frequently catching him flexing his muscles," he said. "You would be sitting at the computer and just randomly out of nowhere he's sneaking up behind you trying to put you in a head lock."

Hammers reminded the audience of Magee's love for life and intolerance for negativity.
"He was one of those people that you just wanted to be around," he said, "always positive and never minded lending a hand. No matter what the situation, his response was, 'I got you man.'"

As a Soldier, Capt. Timothy Sikora, Company A commander, remembered Magee as a dedicated company supply sergeant.

"If he had the supplies, he gave them to his fellow Soldiers all the way down to the last one out of his pocket," he said.

Ashe remembered Magee as a Soldier whose impact on those around him was far-reaching. With a contagious smile and the attitude to live every day to the fullest, he was a guy who others sought out in hard times for a quick pick-up.

While Magee's spirit lingered in the aisles of the chapel and in the hearts of those he influenced, Simpson took a moment to talk to his fallen friend.

"We love you," he said. "We miss you. Rest in peace brother."

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