Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Army Staff Sgt. Mark A. Stets Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Mark A. Stets Jr., 39, of El Cajon, Calif.

SSgt Stets was assigned to the 8th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne), 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Feb. 3, 2010 in Timagara, Pakistan, from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Army Sgt. 1st Class David J. Hartman and Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew S. Sluss-Tiller.

The war on terror hits close to home once again. A soldier with local ties has made the ultimate sacrifice.

Family members say it came as no surprise when Mark Stets, Jr. joined the Navy after graduating high school. His aunt, Mary Ann May, said, “He lived and breathed. He always wanted to serve.”

Mark followed in his father’s footsteps, but then decided to join the Army. He became a Staff Sergeant in the Special Forces. His last mission took him to Pakistan to train troops there.

“The forces that they’re training. Those men had been involved in rebuilding a school there that had been previously destroyed,” said Mary Ann.

The news came Wednesday evening. Staff Sergeant Stets was one of three American soldiers killed by a bomb in Pakistan.

Mary Ann said, “The five young men were accompanying their friends to the dedication of the school when they were hit. Mark had been deployed a number of times in combat missions. Came home fine.”

The husband and father of three was not on duty at the time. From the time he was an infant until he graduated from high school, his summers were spent in Lewiston while his dad served America.

“It’s like a higher family,” said Mark’s uncle Thomas May.

Stets came from a proud military family. A family that wants people to understand the reason for the missions undertaken by America’s bravest. “And that purpose is that eagle and that flag. Because if we didn’t do it, who would?” said Thomas.

His final resting place will be Arlington National Cemetery.

Stets is survived by his wife, Nina, and three daughters, Jessica, December, and Rachael, of Fayetteville, N.C.

Army Staff Sgt. Mark A. Stets Jr. was killed in action on 2/3/10.

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