Stephen R. Sherman
Sergeant, United States Army
RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
February 04, 2005
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sergeant Stephen R. Sherman, 27, from Neptune, New Jersey, died February 3, 2005, in Mosul, Iraq, from wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Sherman was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) Fort Lewis, Washington.
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
Click here for a memorial to Sergeant Sherman
Family to bury Neptune soldier in Arlington,
NEPTUNE, New Jersey - An Army sergeant killed in Iraq Thursday morning will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Monday with full military honors, according to officials at Fort Monmouth.
Sergeant Stephen R. Sherman, who lived with his family in the township for the last four years, died near Mosul after a homemade bomb hit the vehicle he was traveling in, according to his family and the Army.
Officials announced Monday that Sherman's family decided to bury him at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia at 1 p.m. Monday, said Henry Kearney, a spokesman for Fort Monmouth.
The family will hold a viewing for Sherman from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday at Ely Funeral Home on Route 33 in Neptune. A funeral Mass will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Holy Innocents Roman Catholic Church on West Bangs Avenue in Neptune.
Sherman was the 43rd member of the military from New Jersey to be killed in Iraq since fighting began there in March 2003, according to the Associated Press.
Born in Virginia, Sherman and his family moved to New Jersey when he was 11. They lived in Spring Lake Heights before moving to Neptune.
Sherman first went to Manasquan High School but graduated from High Technology High School in Middletown in 1996. He earned a degree in business administration from the University of Oregon in 2001.
After working in the private sector, he joined the Army in 2003 and trained as a chemical specialist, leaving for Iraq in October.
Although his family has declined requests for interviews, his mother, Bernadette Sherman, described her son in an e-mail to the Asbury Park Press as a hard-working, responsible young man who loved the outdoors and who looked forward to his brother's upcoming graduation from college.
memories I have of Steve are of his loving and caring relationships with
each of his family members," Bernadette Sherman wrote. "After college and
before enlisting in the Army, he had some free time but preferred not to
be idle. He would keep himself busy with small, around-the-house jobs for
his grandmother and me."
He was 27 years old.
Sergeant Sherman enlisted in the Army in April 2003. He completed basic and advanced individual training as a Chemical Operations Specialist soldier at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, in October 2003, before being assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington. He deployed to Iraq from Fort Lewis with his unit in October 2004, serving as a Nuclear, Biological, Chemical [NBC] noncommissioned officer and directing soldiers in the operation, maintenance and use of NBC detection and decontamination equipment. His medals and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
Born in July 1977 in Arlington, Virginia, Sergeant Sherman moved with his family to Spring Lake Heights, when he was 11 years old, and then moved with his family to Neptune four years ago. He attended his freshman year at Manasquan High School, transferring for his sophomore through senior years to High Tech High School, Brookdale Community College, graduating in 1996. Sergeant Sherman later attended the University of Oregon, graduating with a business administration degree in 2001. Before enlisting in the U.S. Army, he managed a Budget Rent-A-War franchise in the Cayman Islands. Among his many interests were outdoor sports and survival skills including participating in an 80-day Outward Bound Excursion survival skills training course.
Sgt. Sherman will be remembered as a gentle and loving son who was determined to shield his mother from the harsh and frightening realities of war. In conversations and e-mail, he would often focus on the brighter aspects of a difficult situation. Things like the camaraderie of the troops and his interaction with the children of Iraq were the inspiration for much of his correspondence.
Sgt. Sherman is survived by his mother, Bernadette Sherman, Neptune; his father Richard W. Sherman, Great Falls, Virginia; brothers Eddie and Danny; sister, Caitlin; half-brother and sister, Will and Annie Sherman, Great Falls, Virginia; maternal grandmother, Rose Wildeman, Point Pleasant and paternal grandmother, Beverly Marten, Camden, Delaware.
He is also survived by several aunts and uncles, John Wildeman Jr., Punta Gorda, Florida; Kevin and Sarah Wildeman, McLean, Virginia; Jim and Donna Brogan, Point Pleasant; Brian and Mary Wildeman, Canton, Georgia; Terry and Veronica Wildeman, Farmingdale; Timmy and Anna Lee Wildeman, Shark River, and Tom Sherman, Manahawkin, and many loving cousins, extended family and friends.
Visiting hours will be on today from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m.to 9 p.m. at the Ely Funeral Home, 3316 Rt. 33, Neptune and on Friday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Holy Innocents Church. Shuttle transportation from the Holy Innocents church parking lot will be provided for the evening viewing hours tonight.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday at 7 p.m. at Holy Innocents Church, West Bangs Avenue and Rt. 33. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, on Monday, February 14 at 1 p.m.
Arlington National Cemetery does not accept
flowers, therefore at the family’s request, memorial donations can be made
to the American Red Cross or the Outward
Bound Scholarship program.
U.S. Army Sergant Stephen Richard Sherman, 27, of Neptune, New Jersey, the son of Richard "Dick" Sherman of Great Falls, was killed in Mosul in northern Iraq on February 3, 2005, when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated beneath him as he traveled in an Army Stryker vehicle on a night mission.
His death was the first to occur in his Stryker unit, his father said.
A wake will be held at Ely Funeral Home in Neptune from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10. The funeral Mass will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, at Holy Innocents Catholic Church, also in Neptune.
A military funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday, February 14, at Arlington National Cemetery.
Sherman enlisted in the Army in April 2003 and completed basic and advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
He was a chemical operations specialist assigned to a Stryker brigade combat team in the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division based out of Fort Lewis, Washington.
"He talked to us a lot by e-mail and phone," said his father, Dick Sherman. "He was always telling us not to worry; that things were not as bad as they seemed."
"We were a little concerned a month or so ago," he said, after a suicide bomber attacked a mess tent where his son's unit was located at Camp Maruz.
Sherman, the eldest of four children, was born at Arlington Hospital and moved to New Jersey in the late 1980s after his parents divorced. His mother, Bernadette Sherman, lives in Neptune, New Jersey.
He was a member of the first class to graduate in 1996 from a high school in Lynncroft, New Jersey, that specialized in high technology, and he was a wrestler.
He attended Loyola University and graduated from the University of Oregon, where he studied music and business.
Sherman completed a semester-long Outward Bound program in 1997 that included river rafting and rock climbing. He was a canoing enthusiast and often went on canoe trips to Canada with friends and family. He also enjoyed snowboarding, rock climbing and golf.
After graduating from college, Sherman explored options for his life. He managed a car rental agency in the Cayman Islands and then decided to join the Army when he was 25.
"He joined the Army because he thought that was a good thing to do," his father said. "He was a hero to me and his family and friends long before he met this tragic end. He was a hero for what he stood for. He was a great guy."
"He enriched and enlivened the many lives he touched," he said, adding that "he led a very exciting and adventurous life."
"He had a strong will and body, but he was gentle and compassionate," Dick Sherman said. "He was much more than a loving son to me. He was a dear friend."
Sherman's father, a retired aerospace executive, is CEO of an agricultural business. His stepmother, Deborah Tucker, works for the National Association for Variable Annuities. Their two children, Annie and Will, attend Colvin Run Elementary School.
Sherman is also survived by his brothers, Eddie Sherman of Great Falls, and Dan Sherman, a senior at Mary Washington College; a sister, Caitlin, a 2003 graduate of The Madeira School who now attends Rhodes College in Memphis; and his grandparents, Rose Wildeman of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, and Beverly Marten of Camden, Delaware.
The family requests that any donations in Stephen
Sherman's memory be made to Outward Bound USA or to the American Red Cross.
He died in a military uniform in a foreign land, fulfilling a duty to his country.
For that, family members of Army Sergeant Stephen Sherman say they are proud.
But as they mourned the 27-year-old Neptune man at his funeral last night, eight days after a bomb blast claimed him in Iraq, relatives said Sherman's military service represented just one facet of a rich and passionate life.
To his three younger siblings, who eulogized him after a funeral Mass at Holy Innocents Church in Neptune, Sherman was a teacher, protector and role model, a man with an intense interest in history and a thirst for outdoor adventure.
"He was my hero long before he suited up and went to war for our country," brother Danny Sherman told nearly 400 mourners. "He instilled in me an energy and a passion for everything I do."
Sherman's sister, Caitlin, told the assembly that countless people over the past week had offered condolences with the words "sorry for your loss."
The condolences were well-meaning, she said, but misplaced.
"It's not we for whom people should be sorry," Caitlin Sherman said. "We are sorry for those who didn't have him to lose."
Sherman, a 1996 graduate of High Technology High School in Lincroft, was killed Feb. 3 near Mosul, Iraq, when an improvised bomb exploded in the road as his convoy passed by. He was the 43rd soldier or Marine with ties to New Jersey killed in Iraq since the war began.
Sherman, who enlisted in 2003 and deployed to Iraq in October, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Lewis, Wash. The unit is one of the Army's Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, so named for the new generation of agile, armored vehicles the teams use.
In conversations with his family overseas and in letters home, he expressed sympathy for the Iraqi people, particularly the children, with whom he shared sweets and snacks sent from home.
The Rev. Brian T. Butch, the pastor at Holy Innocents, said Sherman's view toward the Iraqis typified the man's character.
"Steve understood Jesus," Butch said. "He reached out and loved so many people. He saw the darkness that enveloped Iraq, and he chose to bring light to the darkness."
Sherman's sister said he brought light and laughter to family members as well, engaging them with humor and inspiring them with his many travels, whether it was camping in Canada, canoeing in some remote waterway or studying for a semester at a college in Australia.
Sherman, who graduated in 2001 from the University of Oregon with a degree in business administration, also lived for a time in the Cayman Islands, where he managed a rental car franchise. To fulfill his interest in outdoor survival, he completed an 80-day Outward Bound Excursion survival training course.
"He did more in 27 years than most people do in one hundred," another brother, Eddie Sherman, told mourners.
There were other interests: philosophy, sports, music. In tribute to Sherman's obsession with The Grateful Dead, two uncles sang a rendition of "Ripple," one of the band's best-known songs and one of Sherman's favorites. Many in the funeral joined in.
Later, bagpipers played "Amazing Grace" as members of the Fort Monmouth honor guard carried Sherman's flag-draped casket out of the church. Mourners followed, lighted candles in hand.
Sherman, an Arlington, Va., native who moved to New Jersey when he was 11, will be buried Monday in Arlington National Cemetery. In addition to his brothers Danny and Eddie and his sister Caitlin, he is survived by his mother, Bernadette Sherman, who lives in Neptune, and his father, Richard W. Sherman, of Great Falls, Virginia.
Under an executive order signed by acting Governor Richard Codey, flags flew at half staff at all state offices yesterday in honor of Sherman's funeral.
"Sergeant Sherman served our nation with great
ability, great bravery and great patriotism," Codey said in a statement.
"His dedication to his country and his family makes him a hero to all of
Under a gray Valentine's Day sky, more than 150 friends and family members said goodbye to Army Sergeant Stephen R. Sherman as the Monmouth County soldier was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Sherman's mother, Bernadette, of Neptune and father, Richard, of Great Falls, Virginia, received folded American flags as a tribute for his service. Brigadier General Marvin K. McNamara presented three posthumous medals, including a Bronze Star for valor. A 21-gun salute was followed by a lone bugler playing taps during the half-hour service.
"It was very moving," said Richard Sherman, hours after the burial, which was attended by former classmates and two injured soldiers from his unit. "We're proud to have him buried close by. His wish was to be buried there. He figured if he didn't make it, that was his due. We honored that."
Sherman, 27, of Neptune, died on February 3, 2005, near Mosul in northern Iraq when a homemade bomb hit the vehicle in which he was riding. There have been more than 1,450 U.S. deaths in Iraq, and Sherman was the 116th soldier killed in the Iraq war to be buried at Arlington.
The oldest of four children, Sherman left Virginia when he was 11 and moved to Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey. He later attended Manasquan High and graduated from High Technology High School and the University of Oregon.
Sherman joined the Army in April 2003. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.
In his eulogy at Monday's funeral, Richard Sherman talked about how much his son meant to those around him.
"He was a hero to all of us for his service and his sacrifice, but he was a hero to his family and friends long before he met his tragic end in a foreign land," he told mourners. "He was a good soldier, but he was a lot more than that. He was a great guy, one of the good guys we all like to know and want to have be a part of our lives."
In his last phone call home, Sherman, who had lived in Neptune the past four years, told his mother he hoped his unit might come home in September.
"He closed, as always, by saying, "Don't worry Mom, I'm OK. I love you and remember, please don't watch the news,' " his mother wrote in a recent e-mail to the Asbury Park Press.
Leaning on a cane, Howard Tucker watched somberly from a distance as the casket of his step-grandson was prepared for interment amid the dignified rows of white gravestones.
"If I was killed," the Alexandria, Virginia, resident said, "I would want to be buried here."
16 February 2005:
Under the gray monotony of a weeping sky, Army Sergeant Stephen Sherman was buried in a silver casket at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday. It was Valentine's Day.
Sherman was killed in action in Mosul, Iraq, on February 3, 2005, when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded under his Army Stryker vehicle.
Just before his funeral began at 1 p.m., another sergeant from "1-5 Bobcat, Charlie Company, Headquarters Platoon," Sherman's Army Stryker unit, presented his mother, Bernadette Sherman, with the dog tags Sherman was wearing when he died.
Sergeant Michael Buyas had lost both legs on December 23, 2004, "Christmas Eve eve," also when an IED exploded beneath his Stryker vehicle. "I was blown up from the bottom of the Stryker, as far as I can surmise," Buyas said.
He was ejected from the vehicle and lost both legs-one above the knee. But "I remember nothing" before waking up at Walter Reed Hospital on New Year's Eve, where he is now in rehabilitation, Buyas said.
The IEDs that struck both Strykers were probably mixed from plastic explosives and rocket fuel, a concoction that made his job in Iraq much more difficult, Buyas said.
At first, he said, "I felt invincible" in his Army Stryker.
"My whole time in Iraq was a bunch of near misses. I was feeling pretty invincible. No one ever hit us." But then the enemy "started loading bigger IEDs."
Sherman was the first fatality in their Stryker unit, Buyas said. "I was with him for a long time before we came to Iraq," said Buyas, now recovering at Walter Reed Hospital.
He described Sherman as "a great guy, very intelligent and very smart. He was a good soldier, too. He got his E5 very, very fast, 19 months. Less than two years. We couldn't think of one person that didn't like Steve Sherman," Buyas said.
"I wish he could have made it. He could have come and saw us, and we could have helped him heal up.
"He definitely did not deserve to die, that's for sure. He was a good soldier, a good buddy, a good friend."
Buyas watched from a wheelchair pushed by his wife, Carrie, as six soldiers in dress uniforms removed Sherman's casket from the hearse and the Army band played the "Going Home" theme from Dvorak's "New World" symphony.
About 150 mourners walked silently, some carrying umbrellas, others allowing cold raindrops to fall on their faces. Later, as a 21-gun salute sounded and Sergeant First Class Christian Hinkle of Mt. Airy, North Carolina, played "Taps" on his bugle, raindrops mixed with tears.
Father Brian T. Butch, parish priest from Holy Innocents Catholic Church in Neptune, N.J., and a graduate of George Mason University, conducted the service.
Deacon Lee Trammell of St. Michael's in West End, New Jersey, offered a prayer for the hungry and impoverished people in the world, "especially the Iraqi children who Stephen loved so dearly."
In his eulogy, Dick Sherman of Great Falls recalled his son's self-effacing manner and love for popular culture icons such as Will Ferrell of "Saturday Night Live." The younger Sherman loved music, played guitar and made CDs to help his father appreciate contemporary music.
But, if his son could speak, he would say, "Don't make such a fuss over me," Dick Sherman said.
His mother, Bernadette Sherman, received the folded American flag from her son's casket that had been protected from the rain with clear plastic until it was placed under cover at graveside.
Then, Sgt. John Nash, of Florida, touched Sherman's coffin with one corner of a second flag that was folded into a triangle; it was presented to the soldier's father.
Posthumous Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts were presented to Sherman's parents, and an Army general expressed condolences.
In keeping with tradition, an unidentified "Arlington lady," the wife or widow of a military person who represents the chief of staff "and the Army family," spoke to each of the parents before she was escorted away by a uniformed officer.
The lengthy funeral procession had crept along Bradley Drive to York Drive where a newly opened section of graves has marble markers with the inscription, "Operation Iraqi Freedom."
One grave was also adorned with a small white ceramic tile with a child's handprint in pink: "A person's spirit lives as long as someone is alive that remembers him. I love you, Daddy," read the inscription by Mallory Hugger. Her father, 26-year-old Staff Sgt. Jamie L. Hugger, died on Oct. 26, 2003.
After the mourners left, one tall slender figure in a navy overcoat with brass buttons moved slowly from one marker to the next, reading each name.
Lt. Matthew Bovia, a Navy helicopter pilot from Manasquan, N.J., is stationed in Norfolk but drove to Arlington Cemetery on Monday to attend Sherman's funeral. His hometown is near Sherman's home in Neptune, and he came after his mother e-mailed him the news that a man from their area had died in Iraq.
"It is my way of saying 'thank you' and paying my respects," said Bovia, who just returned from his first tours of duty in the Persian Gulf and is "up for the second."
He observed that the dates engraved on the grave markers are "so recent, especially their birth dates," Bovia said. But visiting the graves, he said, gives him "a distinct sense of pride and thankfulness for what they've done."
Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth L. Kerr, Arlington's senior Army chaplain, said a military burial with honors in Arlington National Cemetery has honored the nation's fallen patriots for 150 years. "It is because of their sacrifice that we are, and remain, free," he said.
As Sherman was laid to rest, two other funerals were under way nearby. Army drummers marched to one of the graves; a caisson pulled by white horses led mourners to the other.
But both those funerals marked the endings of long lives, fully lived, Kerr said. "When someone is 25 years old, they are part of that defense of freedom, but it is just so tragic, every time," he said.
17 February 2005:
NEPTUNE — Several hundred mourners filed into The Church of the Holy Innocents, here, last Friday to pay their respects to Army Sergeant Stephen Sherman, who was killed in Mosul, Iraq when insurgents assaulted his armored vehicle with an explosive device on February 3, 2005.
While news of the 27-year-old's untimely death sent friends and relatives into shock, it also triggered some of their own special memories of the former Spring Lake Heights resident, who, by all accounts, was a person full of life and love.
During Friday night's Mass of Christian Burial at the Roman Catholic Church, Sereant Sherman’s younger siblings shared their memories, which described him as a jovial, polite role model for those close to him.
“Steve did more in 27 years than others do in 100,” his brother Eddie Sherman said. “Stephen was a confident, strong man who found a way to get the job done.”
As a testament to Sgt. Sherman’s zest for life, Eddie spoke of their canoe trip to Canada several years ago. There, his older brother had carried a canoe by himself for miles over rugged terrain while others had lagged behind.
The whole time, Eddie said, he was in disbelief of how far his brother had carried that canoe without any help.
“He was my hero before he put on the uniform,” brother Danny Sherman said. “He showed me the thirst of life and how he always kept an open mind. He never left by quitting and never burned any bridges.”
As Sgt. Sherman’s siblings eulogized him, there were stories of funny moments as well, helping immediate family, friends and relatives get through an otherwise somber evening.
Sgt. Sherman’s sister, Caitlin, whose voice was shaky at moments as she fought back tears, recalled her brother as a role model who helped her with her homework and was the man of the house.
“When he was 10 years old, he was the man of the house. He was so good to my mom,” Caitlin said.
At that time, their parents Bernadette and Richard Sherman divorced, leaving Sgt. Sherman the oldest male in the home.
“Stephen would always set the highest standard for all three of us,” she said.
“I hope I learned enough from you to make you proud of me,” Caitlin said to her brother.
Sergeant Sherman was born in Arlington, Virginia, and had lived a good portion of his childhood, beginning at the age of 11, in the Spring Lake Heights community.
He attended the local elementary school and Manasquan High School, eventually transferring to High Technology High School his sophomore year.
Sergeant Sherman also played on various sports teams while living in Spring Lake Heights.
After graduating high school, he was accepted to the University of Oregon and graduated with a business degree in 2001.
He then enlisted in the Army in April 2003 and completed basic and advanced individual training as a Chemical Operations Specialist soldier at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, that October, before being assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division out of Fort Lewis, Washington.
He deployed to Iraq from Fort Lewis with his unit in October 2004.
Parents and friends were all proud of his devotion and service to the military.
“He chose to bring light into a place of great darkness,” Reverend Brian Butch said referring to Sgt. Sherman’s service in Iraq. “He is truly a hero.”
He added how Stephen had expressed a desire to extend some good will to the Iraqi children.
Reverend Butch said he wondered what Sergeant Sherman would have said if he had the opportunity to say goodbye to family and friends.
The reverend said if Sgt. Sherman had the chance to speak to his family and friends again, he believes he would express his love to his entire family and faith to Jesus Christ. The reverend added that Sgt. Sherman would have wished that one day in the future there is peace in the world.
“He also would have said, ‘Jesus is a Grateful Dead fan,’” the reverend added, drawing smiles and chuckles from those who knew Sgt. Sherman well and knew his passion for music was rooted in The Grateful Dead.
Toward the close of the Mass, his two uncles, Tim and Terry Wildeman, played one of the band’s more famous tunes, “Ripple” on their acoustic guitars while those in attendance sang along.
After a moving performance of “Amazing Grace” came a difficult moment for many.
While the members of the Fort Monmouth honor guard carried Sergeant Sherman's flag-draped casket slowly down the center aisle and out the church to the awaiting hearse, people embraced each-other with hugs and whispers of comforting words.
The candlelight vigil followed Sergeant Sherman’s casket outside after the ceremony, where mourners comforted each other and tried to express their feelings of sorrow to family members.
Moments later the hearse escorted Sergeant Sherman away from the light of the candles and into the darkness of night, as the hero continued on his final journey to Arlington National Cemetery.
That day, acting New Jersey Governor Richard Codey had ordered all state offices and departments to fly their flags at half-staff in honor of Sergeant Sherman.
“Sgt. Sherman served our nation with great ability, great bravery and great patriotism,” said acting Governor Codey. “His dedication to his country and his family makes him a hero to all of us. We honor his memory by flying our flags at half-staff. We will keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Sergeant Sherman was buried in Arlington on Monday.
“He was a rock for me and his mother in good times and in bad,” his father said while delivering his graveside eulogy. “He was a great inspiration for his brothers and sisters, he showed them strength and courage, and taught them how to expand and enjoy life and reach out and chase their dreams.”
“Steve's physical presence will be missed,
but a part of him will live on forever in all those he met and inspired.
In living his life he earned our deepest respect, and he will be remembered
always with much love, honor and admiration,” Mr. Sherman said.
SHERMAN, STEPHEN RICHARD
SGT US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 07/16/1977
DATE OF DEATH: 02/03/2005
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8097
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY