Saturday, November 10, 2007

Army Sgt. Jeffery S. Mersman

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Jeffery S. Mersman, 23, of Parker, Kan.

Sgt. Mersman was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy; died Nov. 10, 2007 in Aranus, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when their patrol was attacked by direct fire from enemy forces. Also killed were 1st Lt. Matthew C. Ferrara; Spc. Sean K. A. Langevin; Spc. Lester G. Roque; and Pfc. Joseph M. Lancour.

A Kansas sergeant who had already served three tours of duty in Iraq was killed in Afghanistan last week.

Sgt. Jeff Mersman, 23, of Lane, died Friday during an ambush in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. Five other U.S. paratroopers were killed in the attack.

Mersman joined the Army six years ago. His parents said he was always taking care of his family.

"Oh, I'm proud of him. He's the best there ever could be," said Mary Ritch, Jeff's mother. "He took care of his sisters so Mom could work. He was always there when -- he was just there for Mom."

KMBC's Martin Augustine reported that Mersman was so eager to serve his country that he graduated a semester early from Prairie View High School.

Relatives said Mersman didn't tell his family much about his three tours of combat duty in Iraq, other than to say it wasn't good. And then, Mersman would use his easygoing manner to take care of his family by putting them at ease.

"Even at the worst times he was always -- you couldn't really tell what was going on, you know? He just was happy," Ritch said. "He always told me, 'I'd be OK, Mom. I'll be fine.' So, I took him at his word that he'd be fine."

Mersman's father, Robert Mersman, said he wanted to extend his sympathies to the other five families of paratroopers killed in the ambush.

Jeff Mersman leaves behind a wife and four stepchildren, in addition to three brothers and two sisters.

Army Sgt. Jeffery S. Mersman was killed in action on 11/10/07.

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