Steven Charles Reynolds
Staff Sergeant, United States Army
RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
November 26, 2005
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Baghdad, Iraq, on November 24, 2005, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their HMMWV causing it to flip into a canal. Both soldiers were assigned to the Army's 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, Fort Lewis, Washington.
Staff Sergeant Steven C. Reynolds, 32, of Jordan,
For further information related to this
release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
The born-to-be soldier was a mile-a-minute talker with incredible intelligence and intense caring for others.
Staff Sergeant Steven C. Reynolds was remembered as an admirable, multifaceted man by his family, his high school classmates, his teachers, his Boy Scout leaders and U.S. Army buddies. They gathered Wednesday night for a memorial service at the Jordan United Methodist Church.
Reynolds died in Iraq Thanksgiving Day when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device and flipped over into a canal.
“I've never known a man with such empathy,” said Alex Puyol, an Army buddy who traveled from Chicopee, Massachusetts, to attend the memorial service. “There's not enough good said about him. I feel robbed of his presence.”
Reynolds was assigned to the 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, which is based in Fort Lewis, Washington. Puyol served with Reynolds in Germany in the 272nd company for three years.
Reynolds, “a borderline genius,” had a widespread interest in philosophy, politics, history and film, Puyol said. The two traveled together to historic sites in Germany.
He was a soldier because he wanted to protect the society he believed in, Puyol said.
“He was not a self-righteous kind of soldier, but a conscience kind of righteousness,” he said.
“It's a cliché, but he died doing what he loved doing,” said Reynolds' mother, Shirley. Shirley and her husband, Norman, now live in Newport, N.C. Shirley Reynolds said her son had wanted to be a soldier before he even entered school.
People sang hymns and watched a DVD of pictures from Reynolds' time in Iraq: Reynolds grilling on a barbecue, in portrait shots with smiling Iraqi citizens or with his head poking out of a tank.
Reynolds graduated from Jordan-Elbridge High School in 1992. Later that year, he enlisted in the Army. He served two tours in Iraq. The first, one-year stint began in April 2003, and he was deployed on the second tour February 4, 2005, where he was assisting with the construction of Iraqi police stations and the training of Iraqi police.
Reynolds' former high school principal, Noel Hotchkiss, said a conversation he had with Reynolds before his last tour in Iraq showed him Reynolds knew his purpose in serving in the Middle East war.
“Steven understood what he doing. He understood history. He read the Old Testament,” Hotchkiss said. “If you don't understand how evil we are: some of us are self-serving and petty; some of us are diabolically evil. That's human nature.”
Hotchkiss, an Army, National Guard and Army Reserve veteran, said Reynolds told him his own military experience was an influence in his decision to join the military.
The Rev. Jill S. Magnuson, the church's pastor, advised mourners to take heart in Reynolds' smiles in life to deal with their grief. “You can cry and close your eyes and turn your back or do what he would want you to do: smile, open your eyes and go on,” she said in her sermon.
Many of the memorial service attendees followed her advice by sharing droll stories about Reynolds.
Reynolds always had a smile on his face, had incessant energy and never stopped talking, one after another said.
“You never knew what he was going to say or ask, but for some reason (his parents) kept on bringing him to church,” said Richard Platten, the chair of the church's council and a former Scoutmaster when Reynolds was in Boy Scouts, eliciting laughs from attendees.
Reynolds' funeral service will be held December 12, 205, in North Carolina and a burial service will be held December 15, 2005, in Arlington National Cemetery.
One of Reynolds' commanders came to honor the strength his comrade in arms gave to him.
“The tears we will cry will be lost to us forever as we try to make it through this tragic endeavor,” read Captain Neftali Velez, of Brooklyn, from a poem written by fellow sergeant Terri Eury in honor of Reynolds.
Velez was Reynolds' commander for his first tour in Iraq and for half of his second tour in Iraq.
Velez followed the poem recitation with the
song, “You Raise Me Up.” The captain looked up himself each time he sang
the line, “I am strong when I am on your shoulders.”
Steven Reynolds' family and friends say he was always a man on a mission, whether it was at home or overseas. They say he was always on the go but never too busy to call or e-mail the people close to him, and when he could, pay them a visit.
He spent his two week leave from his second tour of duty in Iraq bouncing around the east coast.
A memorial service was held last night to remember a Central New York solider killed on Thanksgiving Day in Iraq.
"The reason he put so much quality time in the 15 days he went on leave is because he knew it could be the last time he sees everybody," said his mother, Shirley Reynolds.
That would be the last time Reynolds saw his family and friends. He was killed Thanksgiving Day when an improvised explosive device went off near his vehicle in Baghdad. The vehicle flipped over into a canal.
"He died doing what he loved," Reynolds said. "I know it's a cliche, but he really did. He wouldn't have had it any other way."
Reynolds' parents say he dreamed of joining the Army ever since he was a young boy.
"He went right out of high school and went into training. I think his first hitch to get into police was five years, instead of four because he wanted to be in the military police, and the training was a lot longer. He enjoyed it. He was very patriotic, and it was exactly what he wanted to do," said his father, Norman Reynolds.
Reynolds' family says he was a modest person, who knew of the dangers of fighting in the war, but to him he was just doing his job and wanted no praise. Loved ones say he's a hero who gave so much to so many people.
"He made such an impact on my life, for myself personally because we were friends," said Alex Puyol. "Through some of my issues, he was always a friend to me there. He taught me the value of being who you are because he was who he was."
Reynolds will be buried at Arlington National
Cemetery December 15, 2005.
At Arlington, Mourning a Stilled Voice
Army Sergeant, Killed in Iraq, Is Laid to Rest
By Lila de Tantillo
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Friday, December 16, 2005
Staff Sergeant Steven C. Reynolds could talk a mile a minute and always had something interesting to say. His familiar voice is being missed in his home town of Jordan, New York, after his death in Baghdad on Thanksgiving Day.
Reynolds, 32, was part of a group responding to reports of casualties in an Iraqi suburb when an improvised explosive device went off near the Humvee he was traveling in. The vehicle flipped over into a canal, killing him and Private First Class Marc A. Delgado, 21, of Lithia, Florida.
They were assigned to the Army's 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, based at Fort Lewis, Washington.
Reynolds was the 100th New York resident to die serving with the military in Iraq. Yesterday, he became the 205th person killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
After a memorial at the Old Post Chapel, dozens of mourners huddled together in the cold as wet snow fell on the graves around them. Many brought white flowers to the grave site; a wreath decorated with red, white and blue ribbons was placed nearby. Stepping together in perfect rhythm, an honor guard carried Reynolds's flag-draped wooden coffin beneath a temporary shelter and carefully removed the tarp protecting the American flag.
Reynolds's survivors include his parents, Norman and Shirley Reynolds, and sister Kimberly Russell.
"He believed in what he was doing," said Noel Hotchkiss, who was Reynolds's principal at Jordan-Elbridge High School and often talked with the teenager about his own service in the Army and National Guard. "He was a good-hearted, straightforward and honest individual, very full of energy -- and he really liked to talk."
Hotchkiss, who is now retired, lost track of Reynolds after his graduation in 1992, but they ran into each other at the school when Reynolds was home on leave about a month ago. Reynolds told his former mentor about his second tour of duty in Iraq and how his unit had pitched in money to help an orphaned Iraqi boy.
"He indicated he thought things were improving in Iraq. He thought things were going to turn out to everyone's benefit," Hotchkiss said. "Basically, he didn't change. He was the same very friendly, outgoing person I knew."
Jordan Mayor Richard Platten, who had known Reynolds since the young man was about 10, described him as a "live wire."
"You wouldn't call him docile. . . . He could be a handful," said Platten, who as Reynolds's Boy Scout leader watched him mature over the years into a responsible member of the troop.
"He started out as one of the squirrelly little scouts," said Platten, who was especially proud when Reynolds attained the rank of Eagle Scout. "But he was always thinking. . . . His mind was always going as fast as his mouth."
Platten, who was also Reynolds's high school math teacher, said the youth was always ready with questions and ideas. He was frequently heard asking, "What if we do it this way?"
Reynolds was a history buff, overflowing with trivia, and an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing. Growing up, he was active at Jordan United Methodist Church, where he attended Sunday school and served as an acolyte.
"It really hits home when someone from our own congregation is killed," said the Rev. Jill Magnuson, senior pastor at the church. "He was very, very well-liked."
Reynolds was just a few weeks shy of his return
to the United States when he was killed.