Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Shane R. Becker killed by small arms fire

Seven-year-old Cierra Becker looked out the window of her Alaska home Tuesday and saw the men in uniform walking solemnly to the door.

Cierra knew.

"Not my daddy!" she cried. "Not my daddy!"

But it was her daddy.

Staff Sgt. Shane Becker, 35, a former Greeley resident and Cierra's father, died in a firefight Tuesday morning south of Baghdad in Iraq.

The men who came to their door Tuesday told his wife, Crystal, Cierra and the new baby, Cheyenna, born in February. The family lives in Anchorage, where Shane was based at Fort Richardson.

Becker was a 1990 graduate of Greeley West High School, and the stepson of Greeley firefighter Bob Jorgensen. His mother is Deborah, and the parents live in Cheyenne now, with Jorgensen commuting to work here.

Becker had two brothers and a sister.

After high school, Becker worked for awhile, said his stepfather, then joined the U.S. Army in 1993. He stayed for four years, then left the military and got a job in Texas. After Sept. 11, he re-enlisted and became a career soldier. He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Jorgensen talked about the man he considered a son: "He was 9 when I met him, and after his mom and I married, he became a son to me."

Jorgensen said Becker was very athletic and played football and baseball at Greeley West.

He was extremely loyal in all that he did, Jorgensen said. "When Shane was home, he was family. When he was back on duty, he was Army. But he was always American."

Jorgensen was in the Navy and served in Vietnam. He and his son agreed that the war in Iraq must be successful. "He'd always said about the soldiers who were getting killed in Iraq, 'We don't need a wall like Vietnam. We need a free and clear Iraq.'"

Becker came home on leave to Alaska in February for the birth of his second daughter, then returned to duty in Iraq on March 12. He and Crystal had been married 13 years.

On the night before he was killed, he talked online with his wife and daughters on a Webcam the family had set up.

"Then he said goodnight to his family and went on duty," Jorgensen said. "The next morning he was dead."

From the Tribune