Gavin Bradley Reinke – Staff Sergeant, United States Army

NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.  They died in Baghdad, Iraq on May 4, 2006, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their RG-31 Mine Protected Vehicle during combat operations.  Reinke and Quinton were assigned to the 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Killed were:

Staff Sergeant Gavin B. Reinke, 32, of Pueblo, Colorado
Specialist Bryan L. Quinton, 24, of Sand Springs, Oklahoma

Soldier From Pueblo Dies In Iraq

PUEBLO, Colorado. An Army soldier from Pueblo on his second tour of duty in Iraq was killed earlier this week when a roadside bomb detonated near his military vehicle, family and the Department of Defense said Friday.

Staff Sergeant Gavin B. Reinke, 32, was one of two soldiers who died after the explosion Thursday in Baghdad. Also killed was Specialist Bryan L. Quinton, 24, of Sand Springs, Oklahoma.

Both men were assigned to the 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Reinke's wife, Carole Reinke, said she was told her husband died while trying to help fellow soldiers whose Humvee had been hit by an explosive moments earlier.

“That's exactly the kind of person he was,” Reinke said from her home in Saint Robert, Mo., where she lives with their 3-year-old daughter, Kayleigh. “He was an amazing man. As a friend, as a father, as a husband, and it carried over to being a soldier.”

She said her husband wasn't an outgoing person, but once people got to know him, he would do anything to help them. When they lived on base, he would take the time to mow the lawn of his neighbor, a single mother, when he had finished his own, she said.

“Everybody that knows him is just as proud as they can be of what he did,” Reinke said.

Gavin Reinke was born in New Jersey, but his family moved to Pueblo in 1980, his father, Scott Reinke, said. He graduated from Central High School and joined the military in 1996. Carole Reinke said he loved his job and wanted to stay in the Army for at least 20 years.

His second tour had begun in November, and his family believed he would have returned to the United States for a break in the summer.

“He truly believed in what he was doing,” his mother, Karen Reinke, said.

When his work day was over, he relaxed by hunting deer, elk and turkeys, fishing and riding all-terrain vehicles — basically any activity that could be done outdoors, Carole Reinke said. Usually, his young daughter was by his side.

“He loved to go fishing with his daughter,” Scott Reinke said as he looked at a photo of his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, with Kayleigh holding a large catfish.

Scott Reinke said a memorial service for his son was planned for Monday in Iraq, with a military funeral service to be scheduled later at Fort Leonard Wood. Besides his parents, wife and daughter, Gavin Reinke is survived by a younger brother.

Soldier's family mourning death of son

The last time Scott and Karen Reinke of Pueblo heard from their son Gavin was in an e-mail he sent them Wednesday from Baghdad.

It turned out to be the day before he died.

“Be sure to tell people you love them,” his mother said Gavin told her.

Staff Sergeant Gavin B. Reinke, 32, was one of two soldiers killed Thursday in Baghdad after a bomb detonated near their military vehicle.

The other soldier killed in the attack was Specialist Bryan Quinton, 24, of Sand Springs, Oklahoma.

Both men served with the 5th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

“He gave his life for his men,” Karen Reinke said.

Gavin Reinke was a 1993 graduate of Pueblo Central High School and attended Pueblo Community College, where he studied Spanish.

He married Carole Clayton, and they have a daughter, Cayleigh, 3.

Gavin was born in New Jersey.

His parents said he was deployed for his second tour of duty in Iraq in November. Scott Reinke said his son enjoyed hunting, the outdoors and basketball.

“He loved to go fishing with his daughter,” Scott Reinke said.

The Reinke family said a funeral service will probably be held at Fort Leonard Wood, with burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

Gavin is survived by his wife, his daughter, his parents, and his brother, Darin, of Pueblo.

Chamber panel seeks finances to help family of slain soldier

The Pueblo Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Committee is raising money to help the family of fallen Pueblo soldier Staff Sergeant Gavin Reinke attend his memorial services.


Committee Chairman Jeff Chostner said Friday that members of the group will go back to their respective veterans organizations to raise money to help send Reinke's family to two separate memorial services.

“It's my understanding that the military will pick up the cost for the parents and maybe the siblings, but no other family members,” Chostner said.

Reinke, 32, was killed a week ago while serving in Iraq. Reports said he was trying to help his fellow soldiers after their vehicle had been hit by an improvised explosive device.

Reinke, a 1993 graduate of Central High School, was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. A memorial service is scheduled there May 15, 2006. He will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Chostner said the Military Affairs Committee will help the family travel to both services, despite the fact that the first service is just days away.

“We may have to pay them back after the fact,” Chostner said.

Chostner said he didn't have specific numbers about how many people are needed to contribute or how much it will cost.

He said the committee is working with the employer of Reinke's mother.

Chostner said there are an estimated 30 veterans groups in Pueblo, ranging from the Disabled American Veterans to the Purple Heart Society, that will be asked to help.

Memorial accounts in Reinke's name also have been established to benefit Reinke's daughter, Kayleigh. Contributions may be made to the Gavin B. Reinke Memorial Fund, c/o Security Bank, Attn: Bob Hyatt, P.O. Box S, Waynesville, Missouri, 65583.

The other fund has been established at Regions Bank, c/o Doswell Brown, 401 Union St., Nashville Tennessee 37219.

Taking Flowers to Section 60
At Arlington Cemetery, a Gesture of Respect for a Stranger's Sacrifice in Iraq

“Do you ever feel guilty for not going to Iraq?” an old college buddy asked me recently. As a 32-year-old civilian and father of three, I didn't know what to say. My youngest brother had worked in Baghdad and Fallujah for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and I guess I counted his endless year there as my family's contribution to the war. Yet the question lingered. I began reading the obituaries of the fallen. I started to watch from my office window as the helicopters circled back over the burials at nearby Arlington National Cemetery.

And then I read somewhere that it was once common practice to “decorate” the graves of veterans with flowers, that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. “Let us gather,” I read in the 1868 General Order establishing this day of remembrance, “around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time.” This idea of a rite of public mourning, as a simple wartime assignment, began to gnaw at me, an expression of guilt.

On a recent spring morning, I bought flowers for Staff Sergeant Gavin B. Reinke. His obituary had stuck in my mind. A year my senior, he was killed just four months after my brother's return when an improvised explosive device detonated near the RG-31 Mine Protected Vehicle he was riding in during combat operations in Baghdad.

I learned my destination at the Arlington cemetery's information desk: Section 60. A short walk later, I paused at the curb, then stepped onto the grass to approach the freshest row of graves — some still lacking the dignity of granite, or even sod. They were marked by name cards tucked into plastic holders. These graves border the open field that still makes up much of Section 60.

This is the closest I have come to the front lines. Here there are those who lived as recently as one month ago.

One row in, I spotted the words, etched boldly in black on white. Gavin Bradley Reinke, Purple Heart, Operation Iraqi Freedom. I kneeled. Two small laminated photos, tucked into the dirt, hugged the stone: one, a young girl, smiling, blond hair in pink barrettes; the other, Sgt. Reinke with his wife. In a plastic bag nearby, the contents pulpy from a recent rain, there were two cards, back to back: “For My Husband You Are My Everything,” and a postcard that read “Greetings from Washington, D.C.,” the kind of gift-shop card a little girl might choose.

I returned the bag to where it belonged, laid my flowers and said a prayer for Gavin Reinke and for his family. Robins busily probed the grass under blooming magnolias. Just over the next knoll, a helicopter landed at the Pentagon. Then a John Deere excavator appeared and idled.

I stood. The excavator's tires were caked with Virginia clay the color of rust. With a diesel rumble, the machine arched its scoop into the sky, poised above the Arlington soil.

— Soren Johnson



DATE OF BIRTH: 12/24/1973
DATE OF DEATH: 05/04/2006





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