Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A Father's Farewell

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Sean & his son Colin (AP Photo)
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Heidi, Sean & Colin (family photo)

Obituary Notice:

Captain Sean Patrick Sims born August 27, 1972, died November 13, 2004 in Fallujah, Iraq. Captain Sims, was commanding A Company, 2-2 BN, 1st Infantry Division, when he was killed in action. He was leading his company in action against a band of insurgents occupying buildings in Fallujah.

Captain Sims graduated from Texas A&M University. He was a member of the Corps of Cadets, the Ross Volunteers, Ranger Challenge and commander of Company L-2. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and received a distinguished military graduate commission into the United States Army as an Infantry officer. He was the top graduate in his platoon at the Infantry Officer’s Basic Course, and then attended the Airborne School, Pathfinder Course, and Ranger School. He then was assigned to the 101st Airmobile Division as a platoon leader and Company Executive Officer. He later attended the Armor Officers Course and followed that with an assignment to Germany where he was assigned to the Seventh Army Training Center at Grafenwehr. After one year he was transferred to the 1st Division in Vilseck where he spent the rest of the time as Brigade and Battalion Staff Officer, including eight months with the 1st Division deployed to Kosovo. He then joined Company A, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division for deployment to Iraq in February of 2004.

He was married to the former Heidi Duty of Eddy, Texas. He is survived by Heidi and a young son, Colin Patrick, who had a mere five weeks with his father before he deployed to Iraq.

Captain Sims is the son of Colonel Thomas L. and Laura (nee Ivey) Sims of McKinney, Texas and El Paso. He is the grandson of a major leader in the history of El Paso, Ben L. Ivey, deceased, and Leone O. (nee Drugan) Ivey of the Lower Valley. His paternal grandfather, Walter K. Sims, is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and was a long time resident of El Paso where he spent many years working for the Texas Employment Commission.

Captain Sims Funeral will be held in College Station, Texas at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Date to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The Sean Patrick Sims Sul Ross Memorial Scholarship Fund. Mail checks to Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Dr., College Station, TX 77840.

Separate article follows:

My son, the soldier, comes home… for good.

At last report he had left Iraq and was waiting a flight in Kuwait. With luck he will be in Germany today and then on to Texas. By the way, he is called “remains” but I know better. He is my son.

I want to tell you about him. Not because he is so great a guy – although I think so, but because he represents the thousands of sons and daughters America is sending to far away places to secure our peace and our liberties at home.

Captain Sean Patrick Sims, commanding officer of A Company, 2-2 BN, 1st Infantry Division, was killed in action Nov. 13 in Fallujah, Iraq while clearing insurgent occupied buildings. A tough assignment, clearing an urban area. Dirty, dangerous work. Sean lost his executive officer the day before and I read of the deaths of two Marine Captains who were similarly killed in Fallujah.

It is sad when a father must write his own son’s obituary. I don’t know what to say. My son, like others falling in that conflict, was a hero who believed in his mission, his unit, and his men. He also believed leaders should be in the front, leading, not following. And that is how he died. He was well liked and respected by his superiors and the men in his company, who sensed his concern for their well being. He was also concerned about the well being of the Iraqi people and did his utmost to guard them from harm.

Sean was a devout catholic, who lived the tenets of his faith on a daily basis. There is no doubt in our minds that Sean is now in heaven and in the hands of our Lord. We grieve for his loss, which is our loss, but not for his soul. If anything, we ask his intercession on our behalf as he is now much better placed for that effort.

I don’t know what to say or how to describe the sacrifice of your blood for this country. Having served in Vietnam, twice, having a father who spent 36 years as a soldier through two wars, and a brother who served in Vietnam twice and is now 100% disabled from his injuries there, I am encouraged by the awareness of our countrymen for the sacrifices of our children. I am thankful for the realization by our citizenry that freedom is not free.

My son was not a rampant political supporter for any party, although he was probably more Republican by instinct. But he did have an abiding trust and belief in the United States of America. He felt we are a moral nation, steadfast in our principles; this nation does not take its commitment of its sons and daughters to war lightly. But unlike many nations in the world, we do not shirk our duties to commit our blood to just and necessary causes. Because that is what keeps us free.

I think he understood something which seems to have been lost in the debates over weapons of mass destruction and poor intelligence estimates in this particular war. That is that sovereign nations must be held accountable for their actions. We cannot tolerate nations that hide behind borders and provide support to enemies who are intent on our destruction. We can debate on how this war developed and was executed. It can not be debated that nations now look carefully at their responsibility and accountability before providing such support. America has made its statement. If you support terrorism, we will find you and destroy you, whatever the cost.

My son understood this and believed what he was doing was right. But he also believed that you can’t go in and destroy a country and walk away. He was anxious for the insurgents to be quickly defeated so we could start the nation building that Iraq so sorely needs. He chafed at the delays and the debates in implementing aid. He was not a romantic. He understood well the backwardness of the country, the strangle hold of its religion and more challengingly, the social and political pressure of the tribal system. They all looked insurmountable when you add them up. But he had been raised in a tradition of grit and putting one foot forward at a time, so he was not deterred by the challenge. He was faced with a difficult, dirty and seemingly impossible task, but his response was not how do I get out of it but how do I get it done.

I think his sacrifice to his nation can best be summed up in a message I received from a friend expressing condolences for his loss: “His sacrifice was made to keep my family, my sons and my grandchildren as well as all Americans safe and free and for that we will eternally be grateful.” That’s nice. My son would agree. That’s what he thought he was doing.

In retrospect, the true hero here is his wife, who is left a young widow with a young son to raise. She is a woman of grace, and grit. She will do well by her son and her warrior husband.

regards, tom sims (Col. US Army Retired)

See this list for other articles about Cpt. Sims.


Anonymous said...

Mr Sims, Mrs Sims, Heidi, and Family,
My sincerest condolences to all of you. The news of Sean’s death strikes me emotionally. I was the Battalion Logistics Officer (S4) when Sean was an Executive Officer at Fort Campbell. I worked with him often. He was the finest of men and an outstanding officer. His loyalties were to the troops of his unit and to his family. He was what all young men should aspire to be.
I pray for all of you. This country will miss men like Sean. Please let me know if I can help in any way.

Russ Rhoads
Major USA

Anonymous said...

The sacrifice made by our men and women in the Armed Forces is priceless, precious, and necessary to ensure the beacon of freedom continues to shine.

Captain Sims, you have my utmost respect and heartfelt thanks for defending us all. My 6 year old son wears his Army outfit regularly and proudly, and we will make a point of praying for your fellow soldiers, their families, and especially your wife and son.

Thank you and God bless.

Anonymous said...

To The Sims Family,

I know of Sean through my son and daughter-in-law, Jerry and Kara Carter. (Jerry Class of 95, Kara Class of 94) Jerry has spoken of Sean with great affection and respect since their days at Texas A&M in Co. L-2. They also served together in the 101st AB Div at Ft. Campbell, Ky. Through my son I know what an exceptional young man Sean is.
Our entire family is deeply saddened by your loss. Sean's sacrifice is the ultimate reminder of the extremely high cost of freedom. We know that the beliefs and heroic actions of Sean and men and women like him will keep our country safe and free. We are all deeply grateful for that.
Our family shares you grief and will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers.

Margaret M. Carter (LTC. US Army, Ret)

Anonymous said...

Godspeed on your final Corps Trip, Captain Sims. With heartfelt thanks to your family. Aggie Mom

Anonymous said...

I am blessed and grateful to be an American. That we have such brave men is truely amazeing. God bless his family, the parents that raised such a wonderful man, and his wife & son. They are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sims Family,

My name is Ryan White and I was referred here by a friend who knows Nancy. I was moved by Colonel Sims words and by your family's loss, and have posted a link to this site from my own weblog. In addition I have produced an audio "show" on my weblog that is dedicated to the memory of Capt. Sims. You can learn more and access it directly here: http://www.plphradio.net.

Your family is in our prayers. Thank you. rw

Anonymous said...

Heidi, Colin, Col and Mrs. Sims,
We are sorry for your loss and we pray that God will help heal these wounds in time. I wish I had know Sean better but will always remember the good times in Vilseck, the days Sean coached soccer and the fun at the Vilseck Elementary School. Colin your father was a great man, wonderful husband, father, and a defender of freedom. God Bless all of you. Bruce, Sarah, Bruce and James Large.

Anonymous said...

I trained and went to school at A&M with Sean. We worked side by side training younger cadets for their entrance into the Army. Having also been a commander of troops in Iraq, I recognize the difficulties of holding lives in our hands. His life is in God's hands now. We all look forward to the day when we can sit down together and talk 'bout ol army.
Charles Jack '94

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Sean, but I knew Reb (Tom Sims), working with him when he was assigned to the Defense Ministry in Seoul. I found him to be the most empathic officer I knew in 30 years with DoD. That loving nature is evident in his encomium. I am a better man for Reb Sims, and it is evident that the world is a better place for Sean -- and so is heaven.

Bruce Grant

Anonymous said...

To the Sims Family:
I served very briefly with Sean Sims in Mar '04. His battalion, 2-2 IN, 1st Inf. Div replaced my battalion 2-8 IN, 4th Inf Div in Muqdadiyah, Iraq. He impressed me as a first class officer and leader. I know his fighting spirit lives on in his men. God bless you.
-Captain Myles B. Caggins III
Commander, Echo FSC, 2-8 Infantry
Fort Hood, Texas

Anonymous said...

To the Sims Family: I was deeply moved to read the account of this hero's death in service to my country. I do not know your pain but I want you to know that there are many, many americans like me-we recognize and appreciate what Captain Sims did for me(us) as he served and fought for his country. A true leader does lead from the front and Captain Sims is a stellar example to others. Thank you Captain Sims for allowing my two sons to reside in a free and safe United States of America. Thank you Captain Sims for caring enough about me to sacrifice your life in battle. I will tell my 12 year old son about you and we will pray for your family. God Bless You!

Police Sergeant Mike Smathers
Charlotte, NC

Anonymous said...

We have a saying in the Greek church that may his memory be eternal. Sean's story touched my heart since I am a widow raising two sons. Sean's memory will live on through his son and God will help his widow have the strength to keep Sean's memory be eternal. I send you my prayers and know that God will be there for all of you.

Harald said...

To the Sims family,

I am really sad and sorry for the loss which overpowers you. I read your article and I allowed myself to quote it in homage on the forum I attend, the Founding Fathers. (http://www.peres-fondateurs.com/forum/index.php)Although French we remain strongly attached to the USA, and please believe in my sincere condolences.

Please excuse my a little rusted English.


P. Cambon
(aka Harald on the Founding Fathers)

Anonymous said...

I cannot put to words the feelings that I have for you and your family. I can say that I am grateful to your son his wife and family for his dedication to country, duty and fellow man.The future of our world is forever in the hands of brave men like your son, and with that we can go to sleep at night knowing that our sons and daughters will be safe. Seans life and sacrifice will be a story shared in my family as one of greatness and courage.I wish you and your family peace and I also know that Sean is with our Lord in heaven. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Where do we get such men?

Capt Sims is a true American hero, and God rest his soul and Bless you and your family.

As just an average American who benefits from the extreme sacrifice of such tremendously brave young men and women, all I can say is thank you for raising such a fine man.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Heidi, Colin and Parents of Sean,

I attended Texas A&M with Sean as a member of the Corps of Cadets and trained with him in Army ROTC. Sean and I attended Camp Adventure in Fort Lewis, Washington during the Summer of 1993. We were the only Aggies in our platoon where I was fortunate to get to know Sean on different level.

In addition to his leadership skills, the quality I remembered most about Sean was prayer. I remember the time he invited me to join him in prayer while we were in our barracks for the evening. At the time, I had thought of how strange it was to be asked. I was Catholic, just like Sean, and I could not resist his call to prayer. We prayed several times at camp and I am grateful for knowing such a devout Christian. I will continue to pray for his soul and for all of you, his family.

I will forever be reminded of Sean through the following scripture passage:

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Sean will always be a good friend, a great leader, and a beloved human being.

God Bless you all.

In thought and prayer,

Carlos J. Rodriguez
Aggie Class of 1994

Anonymous said...

Heidi, Colin, and the whole Sims Family,

I am so sorry for your loss and the prayers of my whole family are with you. My husband, Captain Jason Moncuse was stationed with Sean at Grafenwehr. Sean was a great man and will always be in our hearts as a true hero. My heart goes out to Heidi and her son.

Courtney Moncuse

Anonymous said...

I am deeply saddened by the news of Sean's death. It is clear that he lived as a leader among leaders and faced his duty unafraid and unflinching. His example is a challenge to all of us who wear the uniform of this nation to uphold the principles of honor, courage, and commitment for which Sean made the ultimate sacrifice.

2 Timothy 2
3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

Semper fidelis
Walt Yates '90

Anonymous said...

After reading the article on Captain Sims' actions in Fallujah, I can truly say that we are blessed as a nation to have such men defending us. Captain Sims, I never knew you, but as a former infantry officer myself, I have known men like you. You and your brothers in arms are America's finest. I will never forget that sacrifice that you made. God bless you.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

To the family of CPT Sims

I read the acounts of your sons final days in the Tacoma newspaper, and after the final installment I was struck by a profound sadness. This was particularly hard because 20 years ago I was in A 2/2 (Devil's Duece) and years later I was in Vilseck when the unit was reactivated, so I felt a closeness to this story. Sir there is no way I can imagine your families loss, but I am eternally indebted to your son and the brave soldiers he served with in A 2/2

Devil's Duece

J Mejia SFC, Ret

Anonymous said...

To the family of CPT Sims,

I, like a responder before me, read about Captain Sims in the Tacoma News Tribune, and was deeply saddened to read of his death. Do know that my family and I are so grateful for leaders like Captain Sims in America, and we will pray for God's comfort for Heidi and the rest of his special family.


Joe Kempston
Gig Harbor, Washington

Anonymous said...

As an Aggie & Muslim, I hope Allah brings peace to you and your child. I pray Allah brings comfort to all Aggies that have suffered in this war and that peace may come quickly to the people of Iraq.

Anonymous said...

To Seans' family, Heidi and Colin,
I cannot begin to tell you how sorry we are for the loss of Sean.He was a great man and soldier and we appreciate what he was doing for our country. We lived in Vilseck and my two younger children had Heidi for a teacher, she is a wonderful women.My heart aches for all of you... I just finished reading a three day article in our paper in Washington about Sean and his mission in Iraq, My kids and I were brought to tears, My husband who is a LTC in the Army is just proud of him.He knew Sean from coaching soccer along side of him..We also knew them from church.. Yes he is with the Lord,and you can all be very proud of him..He touched many lives in so many ways and he will truly be missed by us all.. Ann& Mike Hemker, Kristin,Kevin,Mary

Anonymous said...

Heidi, Colin, Mr. and Mrs. Sims,

It is with the gravest of hearts that I send the thoughts and prayers of myself and my family to you in this time of great loss. I had the honor and pleasure of serving with Sean for three years at Ft. Campbell as a lieutenant. Our paths have crossed several times since then at Grafenwoehr and in Kosovo. Sean was a wonderful person and a great officer. His loss is felt by all who have had the opportunity to serve with him. You are all in our prayers as we continue the struggle for that which you all have sacrificed so very much.

CPT Dale Koprek
TF 1-18 Infantry, 1 ID

Anonymous said...

My prayers are with your family for your lost.
I found this web site through our local paper (which I had been following a three part news series of the terminator six.)
Your son was a great leader and soldier that you should be very very proud.
Today’s news paper was a big blow to my heart; I have not really been following the war till our news paper started a continuing story of your sons fighting and leading his men through Fallujah.
I hope the link I am posting works.
God bless all of you
David Radford
Tacoma Washington

Anonymous said...

I read the story of your son in the Long Beach Press Telegram and was drawn to your sons story, I am greatful to your son and pray that your family will find peace... May God Bless You

Anonymous said...

To the Sims family. I read the touching article today in the Press Telegram and felt the need to send my deepest sympathy. The soldiers are doing their duty of protecting their Country and the people who live in it, and for that I'm forever greatful. Your husband, son, father, and brother is gone physically but his spirit shall forever be in all of our hearts.

Anonymous said...

Sims family,

I'm sorry to read of Cpt. Sims death. You have my eternal thanks and gratitude for your son's service to his country. God bless you all.

As the father of a newborn son (born a week ago) your story has touched my heart very closely. As an Aggie your story has touched my soul.

John Engler '97

Anonymous said...

To the Sims Family -The people of Iraq and Afghanistan and Kosovo and many other places can sleep safer tonight because of heroes like Terminator 6. May you find peace in knowing that he was doing something to make our world a better place for people that he did not know and for a son that he will never know, but a son that will know him for his deeds. May our words and prayers wrap around your family as a loving blanket in your time of sadness and sorrow. AIRBORNE SIR!

Anonymous said...

To Capt. Sims' family and his fellow soldiers,
Having read of Capt. Sims and his men's mission in
Fallujah, Iraq in the Tacoma News Tribune, I felt
compelled to view the referenced web site and tell you all how deeply sorry I am for your loss. This is a war that is hard for me to make sense of as I hear daily of
more and more lives lost, American, Iraqi and ohers. I
respect and honor the ultimate sacrifice that Capt. Sims was willing to make. I know God will provide his family comfort and a way through their grief and I pray
for a resolution to the conflict so that our troops can
come home and the people of Iraq can live in freedom and peace.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Sims' Family........It is with a confusing heart as to why????? Why must this happen to our sons and daughters? But then someone like your son, Sean, puts it all into retropect. Your son must have been a very wise man. I only wish to have measured up to Sean's compassion for people and his ideals for a safer, freer world. Your son, like so many other sons and daughters, are the real heros of today and tomorrow. Knowing that Sean is in a better place, my prayers and thoughts are with the family he left behind. May God bless and take care of each of you in this trying time. The Sims' Family will always be in my heart with a special meaning of "Thanks". Your son is/was a very "Special" contribution to America!!!!!!

God Bless You All............Genie Gallier
Federal Way, WA

Anonymous said...

To the Sims family.

Anonymous said...

To the Sims family. I am deeply sorry for your loss. My heart especially goes out to Colin. I hope he will always feel as proud of his father as the rest of your family does. I have a 4-year-old son and 16-month-old daughter and they are the greatest joy in my life. Heidi, I pray that your grief does not seem too deep to bear, and be thankful that you have Colin as a legacy of your husbands unselfishness. I never knew Sean, but having read of him on the various blogs, I can tell he was a man of honour, conviction,deep moral values, and love of country and freedom. God willing, there should be far more people like him in the world. I know that no words can end your pain and sorrow, but take comfort in the presence of God and family.

God keep you and your family in his embrace.
Captain Ian Herr
Canadian Forces (Reserves)(CIC)
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry about your loss and hope you have been able to cope with it. My father also went to Iraqi and was in Fallujah the same time as CPT Sean Patrick Sims. My father is SFC. Steven Michael Selvage, he is supply for HHC 2-2 and knew your HERO(thats what he is in my eyes) from around. My dad couldn't say anything bad about your husband, everything he was was good or great. I also was at the memorial in Vilseck Germany. I cried but had made a promis to myself to become a medic in the U.S. Army. Again I'm very sorry for your loss.

Michael K. Selvage

Anonymous said...

I attended the ACCC with Sean in 2000 and was in the same small group . I remember him as a strong determined soldier , officer and husband. I will forever hold close to my heart those memories.

Steven Dubreuil,
Major, Armour,
Canadian Forces

Unknown said...

Dear Heidi , Colin, Mr.and Mrs.Sims.
My name is Maj. M.Hakan SARA and I ‘m from Turkey. I attended the Armor Captains Career Course with Sean in 1999-2000 term and he was one of my best friend in the small group 6-O. I was deeply saddened to hear the news about the death of Sean on a Documentary TV Channel on 13 June 2007. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. I am in a state of shock. Sean was such a brave, big-hearted and supportive person and a great soldier to be around. He was often a bright spot in my day. I will miss him. I remember one time when I had a problem with my camera, Heidi and Sean helped me to repair it . I know you will miss Sean greatly. During this difficult time, I know you will draw upon your own strength and the strength of loved ones that hold you in their thoughts. You have my deepest sympathy. Remember you have one friend from Turkey who care about you and are thinking about you in this difficult times of sorrow.
M.Hakan SARA
Maj., Armor
Turkish Army

Anonymous said...

to the sims family, i am so sorry for your loss. I served as capt. Sims bradley driver.he was a great cammander and person. the thing i remembe most about him was when i became his driver, he asked me about my family and my life and he remembered everything.the next time i seen him he asked how yolanda my wife was doing. i thought that was great. i am so sorry for everyones loss. if you didnt get to meeet capt. Sims you missed out

Sadie said...

Eight years later, Sean is still loved and missed.

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