Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Army Sgt. John T. Bubeck

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. John T. Bubeck, 25, of Collegeville, Pa.

Sgt. Bubeck was assigned to the 9th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany; died Dec. 26 of wounds sustained Dec. 25 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations in Baghdad. Also killed were: Spc. Aaron L. Preston and Pfc. Andrew H. Nelson.

Soldier called home for Christmas, then died Judith L. Bubeck of Collegeville spoke with her son before his fatal injury.
By Kera Ritter
Inquirer Staff Writer

Between missions in Baghdad, Sgt. John T. Bubeck found time Monday to make a brief phone call to his mother in Collegeville to wish her a Merry Christmas.

"He was talking about sheep running loose in the street, and then he said, 'I gotta go because we're going out,' " Judith L. Bubeck, his mother, recalled last night.

The 25-year-old soldier rarely wrote home, but he called on holidays, and his mother transcribed the conversations to share with his brother, Jim, and sister, Kathryn.

He ended the call with: "I'll go hassle the neighbors now, and preserve freedom, and save the world."

Shortly after that phone call, Bubeck and two other soldiers were fatally wounded after an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle in Baghdad, according to the Department of Defense. Bubeck died the next day.

Military representatives delivered the news to Judith Bubeck around noon on Tuesday, Dec. 26 - her birthday.

Bubeck and the other soldiers were assigned to the Ninth Engineer Battalion, Second Brigade Combat Team, of the Army's First Infantry Division out of Schweinfurt, Germany. He had been in Iraq less than three months.

Bubeck enlisted in the Army in August 2002 after a string of jobs cooking in mom-and-pop restaurants. Always the joker, Bubeck had trouble convincing his mother that he was trading in his electric guitar and nights with friends listening to the Grateful Dead for basic training.

He preferred dirty work to paperwork, and became a combat engineer. Although he was proud of being a soldier, he was less than pleased with his military photograph.

"He said he looked like a Chihuahua," Judith Bubeck said.

After stops in South Korea, Texas and Germany, Bubeck's battalion was sent to Kuwait at the end of August, and then to Iraq in October.

"I was very proud of him, more proud than scared," his mother said. "I knew he'd done basic training and he was prepared.

"He was looking forward to it. He kept saying, 'I'm tired of sitting on the bench in the game. I want to get in.' "

His mother recalled a recent conversation in which he talked excitedly about a ride he had taken in a Black Hawk helicopter.

"He was my risk-taker. He liked the adventure, and he liked to be where the action was," she said.

"I could just picture him in his Superman cape," she continued.

On Bubeck's MySpace Web page, he wrote about life in the military and posted snapshots of himself and other soldiers in his unit.

"For the last few years, I've been off the local scene doing the do for Uncle Sam," Bubeck's personal entry reads.

"My talent as a bulls- artist paid off when they awarded me Sergeant stripes. Suckers! I'm currently on a long-term 'business trip' to the Middle East until next summer."

Army Sgt. John T. Bubeck was killed in action on 12/26/06.

No comments: