Monday, August 30, 2010

Army Pfc. Chad D. Clements

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Chad D. Clements, 26, of Huntington, Ind.

Pfc. Clements was assigned to 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Aug. 30, 2010 in the Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed in the attack were Army Capt. Dale A Goetz, Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante, Army Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Kessler and Army Staff Sgt. Matthew J. West.

1,000 mourners fill auditorium to honor slain soldier
The Associated Press

HUNTINGTON, Ind. — About 1,000 mourners filled a northern Indiana school auditorium for the funeral of a 26-year-old soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Firefighters used two snorkel trucks to hoist a garrison-sized flag over the entrance to Huntington North High School for Sunday's funeral for Army Spc. Chad Clements, who graduated from the school in 2002.

The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reports that friends and religious leaders described Clements as a fun-loving and courageous adventure seeker who loved hockey, NASCAR and whitewater rafting.

Staff Sgt. Terry Smith was Clements' supervisor at Fort Carson in Colorado. He says Clements was an excellent soldier who was always there when he was needed.

The horrors of war hit home in Huntington County.

An Army soldier who started his first tour of duty in Afghanistan just three weeks ago, has lost his life.

Family says Clements enlisted in February 2009 and arrived in Afghanistan August 9th. Published reports say a bomb detonated near a Humvee on a main road on the outskirts of Kandahar, in the military's ongoing campaign to secure the city the Taliban used as a headquarters during their years in power. The report indicates attackers targeted the Humvee because it wasn't as heavily armored as other vehicles in the convoy.

Just before he left, he had signed up for membership in American Legion Post 85, where his sister, Danielle Clements, works as secretary. "He was a wonderful guy," says Post Commander John Decker. "A good member."

Clements had a military heritage, as his father, Daniel Clements - who died in 2001 - was a Navy veteran. In fact. Clements was born in the Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, CA. Clements, however, chose to serve in the Army.

When you first met him, Chad Clements could be very timid. But after he got to know you, he was your best friend.

That was one of the first things Clements’ sister recalled about him Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the 26-year-old Army soldier from Huntington was killed by a roadside bomb while on a mission in Afghanistan.

“Chad had a big heart,” Danielle Clements said in a Facebook message sent to The Journal Gazette. He was killed by an improvised explosive device Monday, his sister said in the message.

He is the first area soldier killed in combat in more than two years.

Clements joined the Army in 2009 to “serve and protect” his country, his sister said. He was a 2002 graduate of Huntington North High School and was stationed at Fort Carson, Colo. His job in the military involved transportation, his sister said.

Clements had been home in Huntington for two weeks before being deployed Aug. 5. “Chad loved his family and friends with all his heart,” Danielle Clements said.

She also recalled her brother’s love of the Fort Wayne Komets and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams and collecting memorabilia of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.

He also admired a certain NFL quarterback when he was younger and would delight his family when donning that quarterback’s jersey.

“Our fondest memory of Chad was when he was little he used to dress up like Joe Montana!” she said in the Facebook message.

Curt Hackney said Clements was a student in several of his mechanics classes.

Curt Hackney/Huntington North Teacher: " Just one of those kids you thought does things right. He just always seemed to be happy with what he was doing. He was a very nice young man, very polite young man.

Reporter: " And probably excited to eventually serve his country?

Hackney: " Yes, I'm sure of that."

Tom Smith/Huntington County Veteran: " Anybody that goes in the service and fights and even has to die for our country is a hero in my mind."

Clements body is set to be returned to the States Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. We're told close family is flying to Dover Delaware to arrange for the body to be transported home for funeral services. Clements' sister on Facebook said, "It's going to be a hard trip."

Clements is preceded in death by his father, Daniel R. Clements, and a brother, Zachary James, his sister said. In addition to his sister, he is survived by his mother, Anne Beady Tarter, and his stepfather, Ed Tarter, as well as grandparents, stepgrandparents, a stepbrother and stepsister and a host of other family members and friends.

Army Pfc. Chad D. Clements was killed in action 8/30/10.

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