Robert Wayne Pharris
Sergeant First Class, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 021-11
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.
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.
For more information on Sergeant First Class Pharris, the media may contact the Missouri National Guard public affairs office at 573-638-9846.
Forr more information on Specialist Romig,
the media may contact the Fort Campbell public affairs office at 270-798-9966.
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?"
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.
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.
PHARRIS, ROBERT W
Posted: 5 Apri 2011
Photos By Eileen Horan, March 2011