Several hundred members of the Army military community recently paid their final respects to Spc. Douglas E. Kashmer, 70th Transportation Company mechanic, who died in a non-combat related vehicle accident June 8 in Iraq.
A memorial service was held June 15 at the Benjamin Franklin Village Chapel in Mannheim. In attendance was a delegation from Kaiserslautern, headed by Maj. Gen. Bennie Williams, commander of the 21st Theater Support Command.
Specialist Kashmer entered the Army from Pittsburgh Oct. 30, 2003, and after attending basic training and advanced individual training, he was assigned to the 68th Transportation Company “Black Sheep,” 28th Transportation Battalion, in Mannheim. When he found out the 70th TC was critically short on mechanics and deploying in support of the Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 27-year-old volunteered to become a “road warrior.” He joined the company in September.
Specialist Kashmer was killed in a one-vehicle accident in Kippur, Iraq. He had been a passenger in a truck that rolled over.
Capt. Timothy Zetterwall, the 70th TC commander, called Specialist Kashmer “a very special person, who will remain with us for the rest of our lives.
“He had a phenomenal charismatic personality about him that radiated to everyone around him. No matter what the situation or issue, you could count on Specialist Kashmer for his smile, jokes and uplifting personality,” he said.
Spc. Christopher Curry, 70th TC mechanic, said Specialist Kashmer was one of the first people he met in Germany.
“We just clicked right away,” said Specialist Curry. “He was one of the most down-to-earth people I have ever met.
“I remember telling him that regardless how this deployment works out I will always have (his) back,” he said. “He told me the same thing. I kept my promise and I know he is still keeping his. I lost a friend, but gained a guardian angel. “
Specialist Kashmer was buried June 18 in Sharon, Pa. He is survived by his wife, Toni, and 3-year-old daughter, Kashmaria.