Saturday, September 30, 2006

Army Specialist Kampha B. Sourivong

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Kampha B. Sourivong, 20, of Iowa City, Iowa

Specialist Sourivong was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, Army National Guard, Iowa Falls, Iowa; died Sept. 30 of injuries sustained when his vehicle received small arms fire during security operations in Asad, Iraq. Also killed was Staff Sgt. Scott E. Nisely.

By Kathryn Fiegen
Iowa City Press-Citizen

The body of Spc. Kampha B. Sourivong returned home Friday --almost exactly one year after he left family and friends in Iowa to train for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 20-year-old Iowa National Guard soldier from Iowa City was killed Sept. 30 in an insurgent attack west of Baghdad, Iraq. Staff Sgt. Scott E. Nisely, 48 of Marshalltown, also was killed.

On Oct. 7, 2005, Sourivong was one of hundreds of Iowa soldiers who were headed to training but were first recognized in sendoff ceremonies across the state.

On Friday, a long, somber motorcade accompanied Sourivong's flag-draped casket in a white hearse from the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids to Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service, 2720 Muscatine Ave. A few people at the airport saluted the casket as it passed by.

A funeral service with military honors is set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the City High auditorium.

Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood, Iowa National Guard public affairs officer, said National Guard members from all over the state will attend.

"There will be a huge presence from the Iowa National Guard," he said.

A military honor guard with the 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry will carry the casket from the service to the hearse and then to the gravesite.

Hapgood said that at the burial, the honor guard will fold the flag draped over the casket and the assistant division commander of the 34th Infantry Division, Brig. Gen. Michael Beaman, will present it to Sourivong's mother, Patty Sourivong.

Other survivors include his father, Maliphone; his sister, Elizabeth Marie; and his brother, Neal Andrew Vasey.

Tony Daniels, 22, is a friend of the family and was best friends with Neal Vasey for about 13 years. He said he visited the family often to play video games with Sourivong and his brother.

"I know this weekend is going to be pretty hard," Daniels said. "It's just hard to know he's gone."

Daniels also said he and his friends were thinking of getting tattoos in Sourivong's honor.

At City High, Sourivong will receive a three-volley salute from seven members of the honor guard as a part of the service. "Taps" also will be played at the funeral.

Hapgood said no state government officials will be present for the service.

"Governor Vilsack has made it a point not to attend these funerals," he said. "It is about the family."

Sourivong graduated from West High in 2004. In February 2004, he enlisted with Iowa National Guard Company B, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry of Iowa City. In September 2005, he was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom with Company C, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry out of Waterloo. He arrived in Iraq in early May 2006.

Sourivong is the 16th Iowa National Guard soldier to die since Sept. 11, 2001, and the first Iowa City soldier to die since combat began.

Army Specialist Kampha B. Sourivong was killed in action on 09/30/06.

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