Monday, May 28, 2007

Army Cpl. Zachary D. Baker

Remember Our Heroes

Army Cpl. Zachary D. Baker, 24, of Vilonia, Ark.

Cpl. Baker was assigned to the 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died May 28, 2007 in Abu Sayda, Iraq, of wounds sustained when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. Also killed were1st Lt. Kile G. West, Sgt. Anthony D. Ewing, Cpl. James E. Summers and Spc. Alexandre A. Alexeev.

Today's THV -- Another Arkansas family is faced with the heartache of losing a soldier in Iraq. Army SPC Zachary Baker of Vilonia has now been added to the state's list of fallen heroes.

Zachary D. Baker was a true American patriot. He was a soldier sent to Iraq first in 2005 who then volunteered to go back for a second tour.

"That’s Bubba for you, always trying to help people, help the world - just give to everyone," says sister Kara Welcher. "He was just trying to help."

Kara constantly worried about her big brother, "Bubba" as most called him, but she and her father admit nothing prepared them for his death.

Kara says, "I just never thought it would happen to our family; it wouldn't happen to us, we wouldn't lose him."

Kenneth Welcher describes hearing that his son had been killed in action, "Like somebody ripped my heart out and threw it on the ground and started stomping on it. That's what it's like knowing I’ll never see my son again. It's hard. He's a good boy, a hero."

Zach was killed on Memorial Day. Insurgents shot down a U.S. helicopter north of Baghdad. Before it crashed, the two inside radioed for help. Zach was part of the rescue team racing to the scene when a roadside bomb exploded underneath his Bradley vehicle. He and five others died.

"He went to save his buddies, doing his job - what he wanted to do," says Kenneth.

Kara says, "People need to remember him as a hero and he fought for his country. He wasn't just fighting for his family; he was fighting for everybody."

Zach leaves behind a wife, Christina, and seven-year-old son, Andrew. His mother, Sandy, is in Texas with them making arrangements for the return of her son's body.

Weeping, Kara says, "No matter how hard it hurts me or my dad or my brothers or aunts, it hurts my mom ten times more and I don't even know how she's feeling because she's trying to be strong for all of us because it's been tough."

At his parents’ home in Vilonia, Zach’s young cousins and nieces and nephews run around a makeshift memorial in Zach’s honor-- seemingly unaware of the hero they've lost. But, his family says it's a picture of freedom that Zach is looking down on proudly.

"If anybody that knows him, they know he went to heaven because he was a good person, a good person," says Kara.

Army Cpl. Zachary D. Baker was killed in action on 5/28/07.

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