Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Timothy Cole laid to rest

Army Staff Sgt. Timothy B. Cole Jr. was remembered Friday as a hero with a big heart who always looked out for others.

Cole, 28, died June 6 from injuries he suffered when a bomb went off near his patrol unit in As Sadah, Iraq. He was a cavalry scout with the 82nd Airborne Division's 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Sgt. Brandon Carpenter said Cole used to give him a hard time while hanging out with friends at the Calcasieu River. It's something the National Guardsman, who first met Cole when he was 12, will never forget.

Timothy — funny, tough, wild and crazy — but right now the only one I can say is hero," Carpenter said standing near Cole's flag-draped casket.

Cole, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division's 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, had already survived two bomb attacks before his death, family said. He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq and had served one tour in Afghanistan.

Carpenter said he was not surprised to learn that Cole was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Valor for holding off a large enemy force until a wounded paratrooper could be moved.

He said Cole always looked out for others.

Nearly 700 people gathered for Cole's funeral in First Baptist Church of Oakdale and for his burial in Hampton Memorial Cemetery in Elizabeth.

They laughed, shed tears and smiled as they remembered him.

The Rev. Stephen Laughlin, pastor of First Baptist, where Cole attended church until he joined the military, lauded Cole as an American hero who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"The sad part is we have no ability to shake his hand or put our arms around him to say 'Thank you'," he said, urging those attending to stand and applaud the active-duty service members attending the service.

Cole was the first soldier from Oakdale and the second from Allen Parish to die in Iraq since the war began in 2003.

State Sen. Don Hines, who presented the family with a resolution of honor and memory, said the war in Iraq is no longer a distant war fought by strangers, but one fought by a local hero.

"The resolution serves as a reminder to the family of the high esteem the entire state holds to their hero," Hines said.

Cole attended Louisiana State University at Alexandria and Northwestern State University before joining the Marine Corps in 1998. He served in supply and logistics for four years and was deployed to Afghanistan.

Upon leaving the Marines, he entered the Army in 2005 as a cavalry scout.

Cole is survived by his wife, Lindsey; three daughters, Alexus, Adrianna and Laura; son, Kross; and parents, Timothy B. Cole Sr. and Connie Cole of Oakdale.

From the Times Picayune

Related Link:
Timothy B. Cole Jr. dies 'of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device'