Sunday, April 01, 2007

Army Staff Sgt. Eric R. Vick

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Eric R. Vick, 25, of Spring Hope, N.C.

SSgt. Vick was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died April 1 in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations. Also killed were Army Staff Sgt. David A. Mejias, Army Sgt. Robert M. McDowell and Army Spc. William G. Bowling.

Rocky Mountain Telegram -- SPRING HOPE – Stephanie Vick said her husband is her heart. Now he's her angel in fatigues.

Staff Sgt. Eric Reid Vick, 25, a Spring Hope native, was killed Sunday while serving in Iraq. His vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, killing him and three other soldiers.

Vick's family described him as smart and generous. Stephanie Vick relayed her comments through her mother-in-law, Faye Harper Vick.

"He'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it," said his brother, 22-year-old Milton Vick of the Justice community in Franklin County.

Vick was born Sept. 13, 1981, and from a young age proved how bright he was. He could recite nursery rhymes and knew the alphabet by the time he was 2 years old, Faye Vick said.

As he grew older, he could quote the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation and back again.

"If somebody said: 'No, no, that's not what the Bible says,' he'd come right in here and get his Bible, go back outside and turn right to the page," said Reginald Vick, his father. "He said: 'Read this.'"

Vick attended Bunn High School and N.C. Wesleyan College for a year and a half, with two years of college course credit earned from high school. In February 2002, he enlisted in the Army.

His father found out when he received a call from the recruiting office. Vick told him over the phone.

"He said: 'Dad, I've joined the Army.' I said: 'You've done what?' He said: 'I've joined the Army.' I said: 'Well, is that what you want? You sure?' He said: 'Yeah,'" Reginald Vick said.

He trained as an infantryman at Fort Benning, Ga. From there, his first assignment was to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. He was reassigned in November 2005 to Fort Drum, N.Y., as a military policeman in the 2nd Bridge Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

He completed two deployments to Iraq – from March 2003 to early 2004, and again from November 2004 to May 2005. Information provided by the military Tuesday that Vick's first deployment lasted until April 2004 was incorrect.

In between the two, he met Stephanie at a mall in Fayetteville. He told his parents some of the details of the initial encounter.

"The woman was standing there at a drink machine, and he went up to get a drink – and she was kind of crying a little bit because she just broke up with her boyfriend (of) four years," Reginald Vick said. "And she told him, and he said: 'Well, go to dinner with me.'"

She told him that she was in no shape to date and was finished with men.

"And Eric spoke up and said: 'Well, you ain't met me yet,'" he said.

They married in September 2005.

His third deployment began in August 2006, during which he was assigned to headquarters with other members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.

He did not talk much about his experiences there, his parents said, although he shared something with his father.

"The only thing he told me ... he said: 'Daddy, I don't want to talk about it,' he said, 'but I will tell you this: The things you see on TV ... (those are) the good parts,'" Reginald Vick said.

On Sunday, two soldiers were killed in a roadside attack. When Vick and three other men went to respond to the bombing, Reginald Vick said, they too were killed by an improvised explosive device, also known as an IED.

Faye Vick said he had been willing to make the sacrifice.

"He did say: 'Momma, I would die for my country,'" she said.

Stephanie Vick said through her mother-in-law that her thoughts and prayers are with the other families. Reginald Vick grew emotional as he described the impact of his son's passing.

"This is the hardest thing I ever been through, and I hope to God I don't go through it again," he said. "It's just been hard."

Vick had received several decorations, including the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman's Badge, according to a press release from Fort Drum.

The other soldiers who were killed were Staff Sgt. David A. Mejias of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Sgt. William G. Bowling of Beattyville, Ky.; and Sgt. Robert M. McDowell of Deer Park, Texas.

Army Staff Sgt. Eric R. Vick was killed in action on 04/01/07.

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