Sunday, April 06, 2008

Army Staff Sgt. Emanuel Pickett

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Emanuel Pickett, 34, of Teachey, N.C.

SSgt. Pickett was assigned to the 1132nd Military Police Company, North Carolina Army National Guard, Rocky Mount, N.C.; died April 6, 2008 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked with indirect fire.

Star News Online -- A 13-year veteran of the Wallace Police Department died this weekend in Iraq while serving with the Army National Guard, according to his employer.

On Monday, a spokesman with the N.C. National Guard wouldn't confirm Emanuel Pickett's death, but Wallace Police Chief Bobby Maready said Pickett's family notified him late Sunday night.

Pickett's death shocked the small department where he'd risen through the ranks from patrol officer to detective captain.

"We're a small department, and everybody is real close," Maready said. "It's almost like losing a family member."

Pickett, 34, worked as a Wallace police officer since 1995. On Monday, town employees remembered him as a tireless worker who was always willing to help others.

In June, Pickett took leave from the department for his second tour in Iraq. He completed a previous tour several years ago, Maready said. He was married and had three children.

Maready said he thought Pickett died sometime on Sunday, but he didn't know what happened.

Pickett grew up in Wallace, in Duplin County. According to the Defense Department, six men from the nearby counties of Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick have died in Iraq. On Monday, several of Pickett's co-workers remembered him as an upbeat, friendly and hard-working officer.

Wallace Town Manager Ken Cornatzer said Pickett loved Atlantic Coast Conference basketball and was a great person to talk to around the office.

"Everybody that knew him will miss him," Cornatzer said. "He was very intelligent, very professional and a very focused individual."

Maready said Pickett had always been that way, even as a teenager growing up around Wallace. "He was always mature for his age," Maready said. "He was hard-working, clean-cut and straight-laced - just a good fella."

His boss said Pickett excelled in police work because of his unselfishness.

"Whether he'd known you for 20 years or just met you on the street, if he could help you, he would," Maready said.

When the department was short-staffed, Pickett would volunteer for extra shifts, never complaining about work.

As far as he knew, Maready said, Pickett went about his National Guard duties the same way, even when he was called to serve a second tour in Iraq. Maready said: "He was proud to be a soldier."

Army Staff Sgt. Emanuel Pickett was killed in action on 4/6/08.

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