Monday, September 17, 2007

Gilmoe Gilbertson laid to rest

Army Sgt. Kevin Gilbertson, who died Aug. 31 of wounds suffered in Iraq, lived large, the Rev. Marty Schuhmacher said Tuesday at the funeral service for the Cedar Rapids soldier.

"Whatever Kevin did, he did in a big way, whether it was his car stereos or his love for his family," Schuhmacher told more than 300 people gathered Tuesday at the Cedar Memorial Park Chapel of Memories in Cedar Rapids.

The 24-year-old Gilbertson was on foot patrol when he was shot by enemy forces in Ramadi on Aug. 29. He died two days later at a hospital in Germany, where he lived with his wife and 8-month-old son.

Gilbertson graduated from Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School in 2001. He served with the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based in Schweinfurt, Germany.

Maj. Gen. Howard Bromberg presented Gilbertson's family with the soldier's Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge awards Tuesday.

"We owe a great debt to his family members," Bromberg said.

Schuhmacher prayed that Gilbertson's family would find peace after the soldier was "taken too soon by our human standards." He also encouraged the mourners to live as people ready to die - which was how Gilbertson faced the world.

"I believe this might be a message from heaven to us today," Schuhmacher said. "Death was real to Kevin. In his assignments, death was all around him. Kevin lived his life with gusto, as one ready to die."

Gilbertson, nicknamed "Gilmoe," was known for the twinkle in his eye and exuberant smile. He joined the Army soon after high school and married his wife, Nina, on Dec. 30, 2005. Gilbertson had two sons, Timothy Gilbertson and Nickolas Sullivan.

Gilbertson was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

George Hamman, a Cedar Rapids veteran, read a condolence message from Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran before sharing some thoughts about Gilbertson's death.

"There are 28,000 veterans in this area," Hamman said. "I can't speak for all of the veterans - I can speak for some of them. When one of us is lost, we all grieve."

A procession of people in cars and on foot passed quietly through the September sunshine to a graveside service for Gilbertson at the Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery. There, a chaplain read some Scripture and led the group in the Lord's Prayer. A color guard fired three rounds of seven shots and a trumpeter played taps.

Gilbertson is the 61st person with Iowa ties to die in conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan since March 2003.

From the Des Moines Register

Related Link:
Gilmoe (Kevin A.) Gilbertson dies 'Aug. 31 in Germany, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit during combat operations Aug. 29'