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Camo and leather: Mourners honor fallen soldier, friend
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March 28, 2007
Soldiers in desert camouflage and bikers in leather gathered at Fort Carson on Friday to mourn a comrade killed in a motorcycle crash just weeks after he got home from Iraq.
Sgt. Robert Lee “Bobby” Clark and a passenger on his Harley-Davidson died April 8 when the motorcycle collided with the vehicle of a suspected drunken driver on Colorado Highway 115 north of Cañon City, the Colorado State Patrol said. The 32-year-old father of two and veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq was remembered Friday as the perfect supply clerk for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment — a man who could scrounge up the impossible.
“When I’m in a situation that seems overwhelming, I just think about how he would handle it,” Cpl. Paul Bennett said during a eulogy in Soldiers Memorial Chapel.
Also killed in the crash was Airman Brandy Lyn Fehr, 22, of Boone, Iowa. She was assigned to F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., and was visiting friends in Colorado Springs. She was riding with Clark to an event for the Patriot Guard Riders, a group of motorcyclists, including many veterans who attend memorial services for fallen soldiers. The group often counters protesters including those from a radical Kansas church who claim deaths in Iraq are part of God’s wrath on America for condoning homosexuality.
The suspected drunken driver is James R. Kincaid III, 25, of Florence. He is awaiting trial in Fremont County on vehicular homicide charges. He’s free on $15,000 bond.
Clark, who returned from Iraq with the regiment this year, was one of the younger Patriot Guard Riders, and his enthusiasm for motorcycles and patriotic causes was infectious, fellow Patriot Guard Rider Todd Richert said.
“His personality was just magnetic,” Richert said.
The Patriot Guard used misinformation to avoid a threatened protest by anti-gay picketers from Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan.
The Patriot Guard Riders announced on its Web site that the 9:30 a.m. service would be held in the afternoon. A base spokeswoman said there was no protest by the church members outside Fort Carson.
More than 100 of the bikers attended the service and roared away afterward.
Clark, born in Fremont, Ohio, joined the Army in 2002. He spent most of his military career in war zones, serving in Iraq after the invasion, then in Afghanistan.
He joined the regiment in Iraq in July 2005 as soldiers prepared for battle in Tal Afar. During the fighting, Clark quickly proved himself, leading 23 supply missions into the embattled city.
Capt. Dan Ruecking, Clark’s company commander, said he broke the stereotype that supply soldiers stick close to the warehouse.
“Sgt. Clark worked around the clock caring for us,” he said, recalling how Clark would bring soft drinks and ice along with rations and ammunition to give a morale boost to embattled soldiers.
Clark is survived by his wife, Amy, daughter, Bobbi and son, Tyler.
The death hit 1st Sgt. Troy Piirainen and others in Clark’s company hard.
“Coming so close to when we got home, that's the worst you get,” said Piirainen, a veteran of two tours in Iraq and the 1991 Persian Gulf War. “In combat, you expect it. This you don’t. It’s devastating.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0240 or
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