Friday, August 07, 2009

Army Sgt. Jerry R. Evans Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Jerry R. Evans Jr., 23, of Eufala, Ala.

Sgt. Evans was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Aug. 7, 2009 in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Dothan Eagle -- Sgt. Jerry Evans always wanted to be on the front line.

It’s why he was a volunteer with the White Oak Volunteer Fire Department before he could drive a car. If there was a fire, he wanted to be the one at the end of the hose to extinguish the blaze.

A few years later, Evans joined the U.S. Army. He was eventually sent to Afghanistan to fight in the war on terror. He was injured early in his deployment and earned the Army Commendation Medal for Valor and Purple Heart in 2006.

“I received shrapnel in my hand at first,” then Pfc. Evans, who at the time was a turret gunner for his platoon, said in a 2006 interview. “That’s why they wanted to give me the valorous award because I kept firing my weapon after I was hit.

“I was scared, no doubt, but my training kicked in quickly, and I realized that I had four other people in my Humvee I had a responsibility to protect. I just did what I was trained to do.”

Evans was hit in his hand and his face. In fact, he was wounded three times in his first tour of duty. But despite his injuries, Evans still wanted to serve.

“We’re doing good for the Afghan people,” he said in a Eufaula Tribune article from July 2006.

Evans gave his life late last week in service to the country he loved so much, according to his father, Jerry Evans Sr. As of Monday morning, the family still had little information on how he died, even though they were informed of his death Friday evening.

Evans, 23, was reportedly in a truck that was hit by an improvised explosive device.

“They got out (of the vehicle) and then shots were fired,” his father said.

Evans enjoyed serving his country, according to his father. He was home less than two months ago, but even then his thoughts were often with his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan. He would call to check on them.

Evans returned to Afghanistan the day after Father’s Day.

“He was ready to go back” to the Middle East, his father said.

Evans had looked forward to returning closer to home so he could be a drill sergeant at Fort Benning, Ga.

As of Monday afternoon there had not been an announcement as to when the funeral will occur, though it is expected to take place either Friday or Saturday from Eufaula Church of God. Burial is expected at Fort Mitchell National Cemetery. Kent Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Army Sgt. Jerry R. Evans Jr. was killed in action on 8/07/09.

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