Soldier killed in Afghanistan remembered

Monday, February 9th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An Oklahoma City soldier may have had reservations about serving in Afghanistan, but he made peace with God and his feelings and went anyway, a friend says.

Kyle Seitsinger was remembered Sunday by those who knew him as a man of character and determination who died as a hero.

Seitsinger, 29, was one of eight soldiers killed when a weapons cache exploded in the village of Dehe Hendu, about 90 miles southwest of Kabul.

Family members were told that the explosion occurred during a nighttime training exercise. The military hasn't determined whether the explosion was an accident or a booby trap.

Army Brig. Gen. Thomas P. Maney presented Seitsinger's family with the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal. Maney's voice broke as he told the audience that Seitsinger was a citizen soldier carrying on an international war against terrorism.

``We don't yet know all of the details of what happened Jan. 29, but we do know we lost one of Oklahoma's finest sons,'' Maney said. ``To all those wearing a military uniform, we have lost a fellow soldier.''

The memorial service was held in Hardeman Auditorium at Oklahoma Christian University, where Seitsinger was pursuing a dual bachelor's degree in journalism and Spanish.

Seitsinger was a Marine for six years, guarding U.S. embassies in Brazil and Russia. He joined the Army Reserves in 2000, the same year he enrolled at Oklahoma Christian University, and was called to active duty in November.

Ralph Bullard, headmaster of Christian Heritage Academy, said Seitsinger told relatives and friends he didn't want to go to Afghanistan because he was afraid to die.

Bullard said one of Seitsinger's friends told him to make peace with death and go on with his life. Bullard said he believes Seitsinger followed that advice.

``He made his peace with death and made his peace with God,'' Bullard said.

Philip Patterson, Seitsinger's academic adviser at Oklahoma Christian, said the memorial service was a chance for Seitsinger's loved ones to remember him and celebrate his life.

``At some point it is time to wash our face and to smile,'' Patterson said.

Seitsinger was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery with a traditional military funeral officiated by a U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard.