Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Army Spc. Preston J. Suter

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Preston J. Suter, 22, of Sandy, Utah

Spc. Suter was assigned to the 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Hohenfels, Germany; died July 5, 2011 in Paktia province, Afghanistan. of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Army Spc. Jordan C. Schumann and Army Staff Sgt. Joshua A. Throckmorton.

Spc Suter was on patrol Tuesday, as the turret gunner, when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb in Paktia province, Afghanistan.

Spc Suter grew up in California before moving to Utah during middle school. He graduated from Alta High School in 2007, where he played varsity basketball, as a power forward, his junior and senior years.

Spc Suter attended a year at Snow College, but enlisted in the Army in late 2008 because he thought it would be a good route to becoming a police officer. He had not yet decided whether to pursue a career in the Army or return to civilian life and police work

Spc Suter met his wife, Nicole, who was working at a military store on base where he had been stationed for two years. They married just before he deployed to Afghanistan in April.

Tony Cannon, Suter’s basketball coach at Alta High and a member of the Utah National Guard who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Suter

was pretty quick and athletic, and handled the ball well. "He never ran out of desire," said Cannon. "He was one of those players you had to kick out of the gym after practice."

"He was always that big, intimidating guy, but inside he was gentle and kind and had a heart for everyone,” said Ryan Reid, the slain soldier’s best friend and basketball teammate in high school.

"The military really changed him," said Roman Daniels, Preston's stepbrother. "He came back, and we saw him pretty recently, it was about a few months ago, and he was really changed. A really good guy. The military did a lot for him."

Kylee Groskrentz, Suter’s high school sweetheart, said, “It doesn’t hit home until it’s someone you know.” Suter, she said, lived for basketball and his friends, but what she remembers most about him is his sincerity. “He honestly cared so much about people. He was never negative.”

Kesha Phillips, friends for eight years, had dated Suter for a while. "What really drew me to him was he was a total smart aleck. He was always joking around. He didn’t like being serious."

Phillips said the last time they talked was two weeks ago and that Suter spoke of bringing his wife, Nicole, for a visit to Utah in November and said he was also looking forward to being reassigned to a new base, where he and Nicole would live.

Sister, Samantha, described her brother as a strong man and said his military service and his goal of becoming a police officer fit his personality. "He was really loving and he cared about everybody and everything," she said.

"He was going to come home on leave with Nicole and instead he came home in a box", said mother, Patricia Middleton. She said her son loved the military, but he had also expressed anxiety about serving in Afghanistan.

Patricia met her daughter-in-law for the first time on Wednesday, when Suter's family met at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to receive his remains.

"The story that we got told last night was that he kept going in and going in and going in until she finally went out with him," Middleton said. "That sounds like Preston — persistent."

Spc Suter is survived by his mother, Patricia, wife, Nicole; father and stepmother, Christopher and Dixie; sister, Samantha and step-brothers; grandparents, Joye and Thomas.

Army Spc. Preston J. Suter was killed in action on 7/5/11.

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