Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Mark J Downer

Warner Robins, Georgia

August 5, 2011

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
23 Army Spc

1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division

Fort Drum, New York

 Killed in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade.

From The Telegraph macon.com 08/07/11:

Warner Robins soldier dies in rocket attack in Afghanistan
By MIKE STUCKA

A U.S. Army combat medic from Warner Robins died after insurgents attacked in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Saturday.
Spc. Mark J. Downer, 23, died Friday of his wounds in Kandahar province. He had been injured when his unit was attacked with a rocket-propelled grenade.

He is survived by a child, his mother and his father, according to an official with the Fort Drum, N.Y.-based 10th Mountain Division. Downer served in the division’s 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
Downer joined the Army in December 2009 and was trained in Fort Sill, Okla., and Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He came to Fort Drum in June 2010 and deployed with his unit in March to support Operation Enduring Freedom.
His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal and the Combat Medic Badge.
The attack on Downer was separate from the crash of a helicopter Friday night that killed 30 U.S. troops. It was also separate from an attack in Wardak Province on Wednesday that killed two other Fort Drum soldiers.

From The Post Standard syracuse.com 08/06/12:

Fort Drum medic killed in Afghanistan
Published: Saturday, August 06, 2011, 7:26 PM Updated: Saturday, August 06, 2011, 7:34 PM
By John Mariani 
Fort Drum., NY – A medic with the 10th Mountain Division was killed Friday in Afghanistan, officials at Fort Drum said.
Spc. Mark J. Downer, 23, of Warner Robins, Ga., was killed when insurgents in Kandahar Province attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade, officials said.

Downer was a combat medic with the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. He joined the Army in December 2009 and was assigned to Fort Drum in June 2010. He was deployed with his unit to Operation Enduring Freedom in March.

Downer is survived by his parents and a child, official said.

‘He always did what was best for others’

The Associated Press

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Mourners packed a church here Aug. 13 as a 23-year-old soldier killed in Afghanistan was mourned and remembered by family and friends in his hometown.

More than 200 people attended the funeral service for Army Spc. Mark J. Downer, a combat medic who died Aug. 5 in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Kandahar province.

“He always did what was best for others,” Downer’s aunt, Sandra Downer, said during the service. “The profession he chose — to be a medic — was a dangerous one, and he’s a very intelligent young man, so he knew the danger that would befall him, but he did it anyway. He strived to do his best.”

Downer joined the Army in 2009, according to the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph. He was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

People lined the streets a day before the funeral as police escorted the hearse carrying Downer’s casket after it arrived in Warner Robins.

During the funeral, the soldier’s father, Garfield Downer, was presented with two medals — the Purple Heart and Bronze Star — awarded to his fallen son.

Family and friends remembered Downer as quiet. He graduated in 2005 from Northside High School, where he played football and ran track.

A former classmate, Courtney Chaplin, described Downer as funny, loving and selfless.

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