Monday, July 23, 2007

Ronald Coffelt remembered

A career soldier and military policeman, Sgt. Ronald Coffelt joined the U.S. Army right after graduating from Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks.

He died Thursday in Iraq at age 36, killed by a makeshift bomb that exploded while he was on patrol in Baghdad, the U.S. Defense Department said Friday.

His father, Robert Coffelt of Fair Oaks, said his son was on his second tour of duty in Iraq and scheduled to come home in two months.

"He would have been back home by the middle of September," he said.

Coffelt said his son was looking forward to getting back to his wife, Debi, their five children, ages 7 to 15, and their home in Fort Bragg, N.C.

"He missed the United States and he hated that desert," Coffelt said. "He wanted to show us the area where he lived. He liked it there in Fort Bragg. He said it was beautiful country, nice and green and real pretty."

"When he was at home he coached Little League teams and umpired the games," his father said. "He loved being involved with his children. He was so anxious to get back home. He missed his kids."

Ronald Coffelt was in junior ROTC in high school and played sports including soccer, football and baseball, and also ran track, his father said.

After graduating in 1989, he served eight years in the Army. After five years as a civilian he joined the National Guard.

In 2005 he began a one-year tour of duty in Iraq. He came home for a short time, joined the regular Army and signed on for a second year-long tour of duty, which was extended by three months, his father said.

"He always wanted to be in the Army, and he was sorry he got out of it the first time," he said. "He was third-generation Army, and he was proud of that."

Ronald Coffelt was assigned to the 503rd Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps, based in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Besides his father, wife and children, Ronald Coffelt is survived by his mother, Janice Coffelt, and sister, Kimberly Conner, both of Fair Oaks, and his grandmother, Pauline Coffelt of Carmichael.

REad the rest at the Sacramento Bee

Related Link:
Ronald L. Coffelt dies 'of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device'