NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1245-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2006
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sergeant Keith E. Fiscus, 26, of Townsend, Delaware, died December 2, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations.He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
7 December 2006:
Memorial services for Army Sergeant Keith E. Fiscus, a Townsend, Delaware area soldier killed in Iraq Saturday, are tentatively set for next week.
Fiscus’ body arrived at Dover Air Force base Wednesday, his mother Pamela Fiscus said today. Fiscus is the 14th soldier from Delaware to die in Iraq. He was killed when a roadside bomb blew up.
One of her son’s friends from Hawaii, where Fiscus’ unit is based, flew in Wednesday night so he could escort his friend’s body to Daniels & Hutchison Funeral Home in MIddletown, she said.
Memorial services hadn’t been set this afternoon, she said, but a viewing, if possible, and a service could be held at the funeral home Monday evening, or perhaps Tuesday.
The family also plans to hold a memorial service Wednesday or Thursday at the Middletown Fire Hall, funeral director Rob Hutchison said.
Memorial plans hinge on when the Pentagon schedules Fiscus’ burial at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. The family expects Fiscus to be laid to rest Wednesday or Thursday.
Soldier ‘Loved His Country'
Sergeant on 2nd Iraq Tour Had Childhood Interest in Military
By Fredrick Kunkle
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Friday, December 15, 2006
A thin shroud of mist veiled Arlington National Cemetery yesterday as a line of soldiers in dress uniforms waited for the mourners to arrive.
A bugler stood at the entrance of a stone funerary vault, muffling his horn with a white-gloved hand while blowing a few practice notes.
Then a car drove up, and the soldiers snapped to attention, presenting arms.
One soldier removed a folded U.S. flag from the car. Another removed a box-like urn containing the remains of Army Sergeant Keith E. Fiscus.
Then Darrell and Pamela Fiscus, who had tried to dissuade their 26-year-old son from joining the military, fell in behind the escorts, followed by other family members and mourners.
The urn flashed in the sunlight as they turned toward the columbarium, a fortress-like vault where the cremated remains of military personnel are interred.
Then they stopped in a stone court, where the Army's Old Guard conducted a military funeral for Fiscus, the 285th Iraq war casualty to be laid to rest at Arlington.
Fiscus, of Townsend, Del., had reenlisted — he renewed his commitment during his first combat tour in Iraq. He died during his second tour, when a roadside bomb hit his Humvee on December 2, 2006, in Baghdad.
“It was just something he decided to do,” Darrell Fiscus said in a telephone interview. “He loved his country. He just wanted to go.”
Keith Fiscus was born in Glendale, California, the second of four children. His father said that his son's interest in the military began with G.I. Joe action figures when he was a boy. Fiscus also enjoyed golf and bass fishing and taught himself to play the electric guitar.
“He was a prankster. He was always wanting attention,” Darrell Fiscus said.
Fiscus grew up mostly in Littlerock, a small town about 60 miles north of Los Angeles, before moving with his family to Delaware when he was in high school.
“He was a straight-up kid,” said James Keily, an automotive teacher at Littlerock High School. Keily said that Fiscus showed a level of care for detail that was rare for students his age.
After graduating in 1998 from Glasgow High School in Delaware, Fiscus worked at a supermarket and as a credit card customer service representative. He enlisted in the Army in 2002.
Fiscus was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, based in Hawaii. Before returning to Iraq, he told his parents not to worry — this time, the mission would be less dangerous. Then his unit recently moved to Taji, a place that was more restive, his father said.
“They had to watch their backs very closely, because they had snipers shooting at them. He had some close calls,” Darrell Fiscus said. “It's senseless. It's so senseless.”
During yesterday's brief ceremony, six soldiers unfolded the flag and pulled it taut over the urn. Three rifle volleys cracked, and the first plaintive notes of taps floated toward the mourners with the odor of gunpowder.
The soldiers refolded the flag, their white-gloved fingers smoothing each crease along its length, moving from the red stripes to the blue field of white stars. They tucked its folds and shaped each point. A soldier pressed it to his chest.
Then, with a salute, the flag was given to Major General Timothy P. McHale. The general strode to the family, bent down on one knee and handed it to Pamela Fiscus, his mouth shaping words that could not be heard from the other side of the velvet rope.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard