BAQUBAH, Iraq — “I will remember him for his quiet loyalty, with love for his platoon; and I will seek to serve the common good of the individual need to accept and love all Soldiers, just as a family does and just as Eric did,” said Capt. Peter Chapman during his memorial ceremony speech for one of his fallen Soldiers, Spc. Eric Sieger.
“Eric served his country in her time of need, and fought not just for himself, but for his peers, family…his platoon and his company,” added the commander of Co. B, 1-12 Combined, Arms Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
Sieger died while conducting combat operations Feb. 1.
As Sieger went on missions, his Bradley Fighting Vehicle was hit by many improvised explosive devices and roadside bombs, said Chapman. But he would look inside himself, muster the courage to get back inside the Bradley because his platoon needed him, and he understood that.
“He knew that his squad depended on him and he accepted that challenge,” Chapman said.
The memorial took place in Sallie Gym at Forward Operating Base Warhorse, Feb. 6, with many Soldiers of the 1-12 “Charger” Battalion and the 3rd “Grey Wolf” Brigade in attendance. Chaplain (Capt.) Jesus Perez led the invocation and prayer, while Soldiers spoke about their fondest memories of the fallen Soldier.
“Sieger was not only a fellow Soldier, but my best friend,” said Pvt. Jason Snead, Co. B, 1-12 CAB. “He was a hard worker. You could give him any task and he would have it done to standard.”
“He was also an extremely good friend,” he continued. “He was there for you whenever you needed him.”
“I remember a training exercise where Sieger, (another Soldier and I) were separated from our squad due to the course of actions,” Snead explained. “Sieger took charge and led us through. That is the kind of person you want beside you.”
“He was a hard trucker, through and through,” he continued. “He was always about his family, always about his friends and always about his job.”
Sieger was born in Utah, March 9, 1988. He grew up in Layton, Utah, and completed a home study course to receive his high school diploma.
At the age of 17, Sieger joined the Army as an infantryman and was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division.
He was an accomplished runner and combatives competitor.
“When we worked together, he was very quick to come ask me for advice in just about any topic,” said Spc. George Austin, a mentor for Sieger and a member of his unit. “He would often call me on my cell phone to ask questions.”
“Right before we deployed, we were sitting in a parking lot and he asked me how to go about getting his [specialist rank],” he continued. “I told him to keep doing what was asked and I guaranteed him he would have it by the end of the year.”
“I deeply remember him coming to my room a couple of months ago and pointing to his chest and saying, ‘I made it. I finally made it,’” said Austin, who looked at Sieger as his military son, a true member of his Army family.
“I remember when he got his car,” Austin said with a smile, “I was really happy for him because he was so excited. He picked me up at my house and drove me around the block for a little bit, and when I got back, my wife asked me, ‘Why were you hanging out with someone so young?’”
“I told her because that’s my son,” Austin said, trying to hold back his tears.
As the ceremony drew to a close, each Soldier said their final goodbyes to their fallen friend and to the crowd of mourning Soldiers.
“He was, and always will be a Charger, and a legend in America’s First Team,” said Lt. Col. Morris Goins, 1-12 CAB commander. “I ask you to do what our fallen would ask us to do — do the right thing, love your neighbor and rise to the occasion.”
“I would like to say to all the (Co. B) ‘Bone Crushers,’ I know you guys will all miss your young brother, just as I miss my son,” said Austin. “I know he would want you to stay focused on the mission and (stay) determined to do what’s right.”
“I love you, miss you…I miss that big red head and that smile on your face,” he concluded.
“I hope we’re able to continue, continue doing well for Sieger and to make him proud the way we were always proud of him,” added Snead.
“As you are watching over us, I want you to know…you will always be a part of our family,” said Chapman. “The love we have for you is the love of Soldiers — loving each other more than loving ourselves.”