Monday, July 19, 2004

Three Ohio soldiers buried

Services in Cleveland, Canal Fulton for Iraq casualties

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND - Two Ohio soldiers who died in Iraq were remembered by family, friends and the military at their funerals Saturday. Another had his funeral the day before.

At the service in Cleveland for Pfc. Samuel Bowen, a soldier rescued by Bowen during a rocket attack was among those who eulogized him. Bowen was serving with Hamilton's 216th Engineer Battalion when he was killed last week.

Bowen was killed when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded near his vehicle. The 38-year-old restaurant cook known to friends as "Smokey" was credited with pulling a wounded fellow soldier from the line of fire in June, even as he also was wounded.

"Without regard for himself, without regard for what injuries he had, Sam grabbed me and pulled me to safety," said Spc. Ronald Eaton, an Ohio National Guardsman from Lakewood.

A military burial with full honors also occurred in Canal Fulton, about 50 miles south of Cleveland, for Sgt. Michael Christopher Barkey, 22, who died when his vehicle flipped over. He was a member of the National Guard's 1484th Transportation Company based in Akron.

Many wore bright colors at the request of Barkey's mother, Julie.

A hearse carried the flag-draped coffin of Barkey to the SS. Philip and James Catholic Church cemetery for burial. Hundreds of people stood along the streets to show their respect.

After the Mass, Barkey's parents, Hal and Julie Barkey, were presented with a Bronze Star and an Ohio Distinguished Service Medal.

Barkey's mother urged the gathering not to lose hope. She said if people want to remember her son, they should "do the right thing and stand up for the little guy."

On Friday, hundreds of friends and relatives of Army Spc. Joseph M. Garmback Jr. attended a funeral Mass at St. Ignatius of Antioch Church in Cleveland.

The Rev. James R. McGonegal said: "Joey loved being a soldier. He was so self-sacrificing."

Garmback, 24, of Cleveland, was one of five soldiers killed July 8 when the Iraqi National Guard headquarters was attacked in Baghdad.

He was buried Friday at West Park Cemetery. His parents, Joseph Sr. and Marlyon, were given the American flag covering their son's coffin. Joseph Sr. held a white rose and Marlyon a white handkerchief as they silently watched Joseph Jr.'s coffin lowered into the ground.

Garmback was a member of the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, based in Schweinfurt, Germany.

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