Robert Wayne Pharris – Sergeant First Class, United States Army

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

January 08, 2011

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died January 5, 2011, of wounds suffered at Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked their unit using an improvised explosive device.

Killed were:

  • Sergeant First Class Robert W. Pharris, 48, of Seymour, Missouri.  He was assigned to the Missouri National Guard Agri-Business Development Team IV, Jefferson City, Missouri.
  • Specialsit Christian J. Romig, 24, of Kenner, Louisiana.  He was assigned to 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

8 January 2011:

Missouri National Guard officials say a soldier from Seymour, Missouri, has died in Afghanistan.

Sergeant First Class Robert Pharris was killed January 5, 2011, when he and some fellow soldiers were hit by a roadside bomb.


The 48-year-old was an agriculture specialist and the first casualty for the Missouri National Guard's Agri-Business Development Team.  Sergeant First Class Pharris helped teach Afghan farmers about growing crops other than poppies.

SFC Pharris was born in Mansfield.  His father was a farmer and Marine who served in Korea and Vietnam.  His grandfather was a farmer and World War II soldier.  His great-grandfather was also a farmer and World War I soldier.

Sergeant First Class Pharris was featured in a November, Military News article talking about his experience with the Afghan farmers:

“I see a chance here to really make a difference,” Sergeant First Class Pharris said. “It would be interesting to come back here in ten years and see a farmer with his crops, a green valley here again, and to have someone tell them they learned that from an Afghan who was taught by an American. How cool would that be?”

14 January 2011:

 Sergeant First Class Robert Wayne Pharris, 48, died Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, in Afghanistan. He was born September 9, 1962, in Independence , Missouri, to Alvin Wayne and Judy Ruth (Grasher) Pharris.


In his youth, his family moved to a farm near Mansfield to make their home. It was there he learned to appreciate life and began his compassion to help other people. In 1981, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, and later with the Army National Guard. He served for more than 14 years of service in a variety of assignments. He served as an infantryman, drill sergeant and recruiter. He left the military in 1997 for 11 years and worked as an over-the-road truck driver for three years, then re-joined the Missouri National Guard in 2008. He was a member of the infantry unit and Missouri National Guard’s Agri-business Development Teams who taught the Afghans how to plant and replenish their land.

He married Pamala Dawn Fisher March 25, 1998, and they made their home on a farm near Seymour. He loved the outdoors, and when he was driving the truck, he said it gave him time to get closer to God. He loved to help people through tough times and always encouraged Pamala to stay involved in community and area events. He called his farm a Little Piece of Heaven on Earth because of the wildlife, hills and trees. He truly loved his home in Seymour and thought it was planned for his family to live there. He and Pamala attended Zion Lutheran Church in Diggins.

Survivors include his loving wife, Pamala of the home; four children, Corporal Benjamin Joseph Pharris, serving in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corps, Robert Wayne Pharris Jr., Susan Christine Pharris and Daniel Andrew Pharris, all of Germany; two grandchildren, Noah and Stella; his parents, Alvin and Judy Pharris of Henryetta, Okla.; his grandparents, Charles Louis and Elaine Grasher of Macomb; a brother, Charles F. Pharris of Stockton; four sisters, Debra A. Tripp of Grove, Okla., Ellen J. Henderson and husband Ron of Ventura, Calif., Julie A. Hutson and husband Jeff of Edmond, Okla., and JoLynn L. Pemberton and husband John, of Henryetta, Okla.; a number of nieces and nephews; an uncle, Charles L. Grasher Jr. of Blue Springs; four aunts, Lola Lewis of Harrisonville, Pamela Graham and husband Jack, of Lee’s Summit, Carolyn Fears and husband Frank of Overland Park, Kan., and Naomi Taylor and husband Robert of Kansas City; as well as a host of other relatives and many friends.

He was a light-hearted man with a great sense of humor, and he loved spending time with Pamala and Ben, playing games on his XBox and PS-3. He was a referee for federation soccer, and his favorite team was Manchester United. He enjoyed reading about historical wars and the warriors participating in them.

He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, grandson, brother, uncle, caring neighbor and friend. He was a brave citizen-soldier who cared for and looked after his fellow soldiers. He is a true American Hero, and will forever be remembered for the sacrifice he made for his family and country.

Visitation was from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, January15, 2011, at Seymour Nazarene Church, 354 North Main Street, Seymour. Services were at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, January 16, at the church with CH (MAJ) Dustin W. Kennedy officiating. Full military honors were provided by the U.S. Army National Guard Honors Team. Burial will be at 1 p.m., Friday, January 28, 2011, in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 09/09/1962
  • DATE OF DEATH: 01/05/2011




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