BAMBERG, Germany - Soldiers and civilians paid tribute to the life of Spc. James Misenhimer, a combat engineer with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 370th Sapper Company, 54th Engineer Battalion, 18th Engineer Brigade and a native of La Quinta, Calif., during a memorial service at the post chapel on Warner Barracks Jan. 13.
Misenhimer, 29, was found unresponsive in his room on Warner Barracks and pronounced dead by German medical personnel. The incident is under investigation by U.S. and German authorities.
Misenhimer joined the 370th Sapper Company, ‘Reapers,’ in Oct. 2012 and deployed with the unit to Afghanistan two months later. Their mission was to clear routes for troops in Afghanistan’s Regional Support Command-Southwest, protecting their fellow service members from improvised explosive devices, mines, and unexploded ordnance. There, Misenhimer served as a gunner on the common remote operated weapon station.
During the deployment, soldiers in Misenhimer’s company say they got to know him for the person he really was: a true soldier who took pride in everything he did. They agree, he was one of the best.
“I think he was one of the best soldiers we had,” said Sgt. Jordan Smith, a combat engineer with the 370th Sapper Company and a native of Schaumburg, Ill. “He was very disciplined and he didn’t complain about anything. I think he was one of the most proficient CROWS gunners we had in the company. He knew his job very well.”
As Misenhimer’s squad leader, Smith said the two became close during the deployment.
“We just had that kind of relationship where we could talk about anything,” said Smith. “He wasn’t easily offended. I don’t know of anyone that ever made him mad. Even when we had bad days downrange, he was always in a good mood.”
“He was the type of person that was all about his duty and his service, volunteering for everything, just trying to get ahead of his peers,” said Sgt. Oliver Cribley, a combat engineer and a native of St. Joseph, Mich. Cribley served as Misenhimer’s team leader in Afghanistan.
Although a highly professional soldier, Misenhimer was not the hardened personality one might expect. According to his comrades, he had a great sense of humor and was not one to turn his back on a good joke when it presented itself. He also had a great compassion for helping people.
“He was a character. Always had jokes, always had a smile on his face, didn’t complain about anything ever,” said Cribley. “He was just a really good guy all around. Not just a Soldier but a fantastic person. He’s the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back and wouldn’t ask for anything in return.”
Spc. Serpio Rivera, a combat engineer with the 370th Sapper Company and a native of Los Angeles, who served with Misenhimer since they attended basic combat training together at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in 2011. The pair changed station together to Camp Casey, Korea, and then to Bamberg, Germany. Rivera remembered his former roommate for his love of photography.
“He had a really expensive camera that he took everywhere,” said Rivera. “He brought it downrange and took some pretty good platoon and company pictures. When I got promoted he took the pictures.”
Misenhimer’s time in Germany was almost complete and he was scheduled to be released from active duty later this year. His dedication to serve his fellow Americans, however, was something he planned to continue.
“He mentioned wanting to get into firefighting, and it wouldn’t surprise me because he was all about duty and service,” said Cribley. “I know being in the military in general was one of his dreams. He was planning to get out but he still wanted to do something in service to the people and his country.”
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Thomas E. Austin, commander of the 54th Eng. Bn. and a native of Muskegon, Mich., paid his respects.
“Spc. Misenhimer was well liked by his friends, respected by his peers, valued by his commanders and, most importantly, loved by his family,” said Austin. “They valued him for his competence, laughed at his humor, benefited from his generosity and enjoyed his company. He was a trusted comrade and well-liked friend. He is someone who will be missed.”
|Date Posted:||01.15.2014 10:28|
|Location:||BAMBERG, BW, DE|
|Hometown:||LA QUINTA, CA, US|
|Hometown:||LOS ANGELES, CA, US|
|Hometown:||MUSKEGON, MI, US|
|Hometown:||SCHAUMBURG, IL, US|
|Hometown:||ST. JOSEPH, MI, US|
This work, Sapper remembered for professionalism, humor, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.