Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jerimiah J. Veitch dies 'of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck with a rocket propelled grenade'

A Fort Carson soldier died from injuries last week after a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle in Baghdad, the Army said Monday.

Pfc. Jerimiah J. Veitch, 21, of Dibble, Okla., died Thursday. He was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

“It’s really hard right now,” Veitch’s older sister Amanda Testerman said. “We knew that was a risk, obviously, but we never really expected this.”

Friends and family gathered Sunday night for a candlelight vigil at Dibble High School, where Veitch had played football.

“The entire town knew him. He was a rock star,” Testerman said. “He played tough guy, but if he sees a girl he likes, he gets real shy.”

Veitch, who had been in Iraq for eight months, was home on leave two months ago for a couple of weeks.

Veitch was injured a week before his death and could have taken medical leave, but he volunteered to go on the patrol when his Hummer was hit.

“He was just doing his job, but he was ready to come home,” Testerman said. “Like everyone over there, he got sick of it real fast.”

Religion was a large part of Veitch’s life, his sister said.

His grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher.

“The family takes comfort in knowing that he is no longer waking up in a living hell every day but is walking streets of gold,” Testerman said.

Veitch moved from California to Dibble before high school with his mother, Valorie Sanchez, and stepfather, Tony Sanchez.

“I lost one of my best friends in the whole world, and his mother lost her son,” Tony Sanchez said. “We couldn’t believe it.”

Veitch’s family described him as outgoing and liked by everyone who met him.

“He made other people part of his family,” his stepfather said. “If you made a friend with him, you were a friend for life.”

From the Gazette