Monday, July 06, 2009

Army Sgt. Brock H. Chavers

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Brock H. Chavers, 25, of Bulloch, Ga.

Sgt. Chavers was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, Georgia National Guard, Americus, Ga.; died July 6, 2009 in Konduz, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

WSAV-TV -- Defense officials say two Georgia soldiers were killed in action while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan Tuesday.

According to the Department of Defense, Sgt. Brock Henry Chavers Sr., 25, of Statesboro, and Spc. Isaac Lee Johnson Jr., 24, of Columbus, died from injuries from an improvised explosive device (IED).

Chavers was assigned to Americus’ Company D, 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry, and Johnson to Rome’s Troop A, 1st Battalion, 108th Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) Squadron

“This past weekend, as hundreds of millions of Americans celebrated our nation’s independence, our brave sons and daughters were halfway around the world still protecting that freedom. We learned today of the tragic loss of Georgia Guardsmen Sgt. Brock Chavers Sr. and Spc. Isaac Johnson Jr., yesterday in Afghanistan,“ said Governor Sonny Perdue in a statement.

“The deaths of Sgt. Brock Henry Chavers Sr. and Spc. Isaac Lee Johnson Jr. are a devastating loss for the nation, the state, the Georgia Guard and most of all, the families of these fine men,“ said Maj. Gen. William T. Nesbitt, Georgia’s Adjutant General.

“They gave their lives in defense of freedom. The entire Georgia National Guard family grieves with the Chavers and Johnson families at this tragic news,“ said Nesbitt.

Community lines highway for fallen soldier

People stood in the hot July sun at the Statesboro Regional Airport to give him a hero's welcome. It included veterans of wars past and youngsters perhaps just learning that freedom isn't free. It comes at a cost the Chavers' family has already more than paid.

"My older brother Courtney went in first; myself and Bryan went in the same time," explained Victor Chavers, one of his brothers. "Brock and Brandon followed suit. I'd say we're a family of service."

The death brought them home from around the world.

"Three of us were in Afghanistan, one in Honduras and another brother at Fort Benning," said Bryan Chavers. Bryan, Victor, and Brock deployed with the same National Guard unit from Statesboro but were separated to other units once in Afghanistan.

Local police, sheriff's deputies, firefighters, Georgia State Troopers and EMT's stood at attention along the road and on the tarmac to escort the body and the family to the funeral home.

"I've been in combat situations when I lost friends. But it never hit as close to home as this one has," said Brock's oldest brother, Courtney Jones.

He read online about the deaths of Georgia National Guardsmen hours before he received the call that his brother was among those killed. The death hit home to many, some who may not have known him.

Crowds lined most of the three mile route on US Highway 301 North. Patrol cars, fire trucks and more made up the motorcade. More than a dozen motorcyclists from the Patriot Guard Riders helped lead the way.

Riders from around the state came to Statesboro to show support and serve as a physical buffer between the family and any anti-war protesters who might attend. Members of the Southeast Georgia chapter say they ride, even for soldiers they don't personally know.

"He's absolutely our brother. His whole family is military. We can gather here today because the choices they made in their life," explained ride captain Gene Altman.

"It's just overflowing, the support we've gotten from the local community as well as the surrounding community," Victor Chavers noted.

A community that pulled together to see Sgt. Chavers return home one last time.

Visitation will be at Hill Mortuary Friday evening. The funeral service will be Saturday at 2pm at Fletcher Memorial Baptist Church on Lakeview Road. The burial will be at Bulloch Memorial Gardens.

Army Sgt. Brock H. Chavers was killed in action on 7/6/09.

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