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

Keith A Coe

Auburndale, Florida

April 27, 2010

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
30 Army Sgt

1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

 Killed in Khalis, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an explosive device.

5/1/2010 - A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Sgt. Keith A. Coe of Auburndale, Fla., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Apr 29, 2010. Coe was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. He died April 27 in Khalis, Iraq, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an explosive device.

From The Tacoma News Tribune thenewstribune.com 04/30/10:

Bomb kills base Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier in Iraq

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier and father of four children who was on his first combat deployment was killed Tuesday by an enemy bomb in Iraq, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.

MATT MISTEREK; Staff writer
Published: 04/30/10 12:05 am | Updated: 04/30/10 7:05 am

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier and father of four children who was on his first combat deployment was killed Tuesday by an enemy bomb in Iraq, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.

Sgt. Keith A. Coe, 30, from the central-Florida city of Auburndale, was a Stryker brigade artilleryman with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, according to military officials. He died in the city of Khalis in the eastern province of Diyala, north of Baghdad, which has long simmered with Shia-Sunni and Arab-Kurd tensions.

Coe belonged to the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment. His unit deployed last August as part of 3rd Brigade, which is nearing the end of its third tour of Iraq since the war began.

According to unit records, Coe enlisted in the Army in 2007 and reported to Fort Lewis in March 2008.

Originally from Fulton, N.Y., he is survived by his wife, Katrina, and four children ages 7 months to 6 years, according to The Ledger of Lakeland, Fla.

“He was a fun-loving, crazy guy. He’d do anything for anybody,” Jason Hutchinson, a friend from Fulton, told The Ledger.

Coe is the second soldier from Lewis-McChord to die in Iraq in the past week. Staff Sgt. Christopher D. Worrell, 35, died April 22 in Baghdad of injuries sustained in a noncombat incident.

Deaths of local soldiers from hostile attacks in Iraq have become a rarity, especially compared with the heavy toll taken in Afghanistan. Coe is the second Lewis-McChord soldier in Iraq reported killed in enemy attacks since February 2009. In Afghanistan, 35 soldiers from the local base have been reported killed just since last summer.

In Khalis, Iraq, where Coe was killed, the roads nearby were once lined with bombs, and insurgents last year regularly fired rockets at nearby Forward Operating Base Warhorse.

But in January, a News Tribune writer who was embedded with 3rd Brigade reported that millions of dollars in U.S.-funded projects had poured into the province. In the Khalis area, the projects included a chicken cooperative, housing for refugees and a brick factory providing jobs for hundreds.

At that time, roadside bombs and rocket attacks on military bases had all but dried up in the Khalis area, according to the report.

From The Tacoma News Tribune thenewstribune.com 05/20/10:

Soldier's ‘unmistakable laugh' to be missed

Family, friends and soldiers paid tribute to Sgt. Keith Coe on Wednesday during a memorial ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He was the fifth member of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, to die since the Strykers deployed to Iraq in August.

Kris.sherman@thenewstribune.com
Published: 05/20/10 12:05 am | Updated: 05/20/10 11:33 am

A series of slides projected on a chapel screen showed the joys in Sgt. Keith Coe’s life.

He was a young husband, happily embracing wife Katrina.

A proud father smiling heartily with a lap full of his children, Keith Jr., Killian and Klover.

An Army sergeant, standing tall in photos with his unit, the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment; a soldier playing volleyball barefoot on a sand court; a funny guy, holding a rifle in an archer’s stance, its sling pulled back as a bow.

Family, friends and soldiers paid tribute to Coe on Wednesday during a memorial ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The 30-year-old artilleryman died April 27 in a bomb blast in Diyala Province, north of Baghdad. He was the fifth member of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, to die since the Strykers deployed to Iraq in August.

The young soldiers who served with him called him “Daddy” Coe, and credited him with saving their lives, according to interviews his family gave East Coast newspapers and tributes posted on a Facebook page in his memory.

He was born in Fulton, N.Y., and grew up in Winter Haven, Fla.

An explosion killed Coe as he stepped out of the troops’ vehicle while on a mission, one of his grandmothers, Dawn Jones, told The Ledger of Lakeland, Fla.

“All the others in the truck were just kids, just out of high school. It was his duty to get out of that truck first because he was the sergeant in charge,” Jones said. “Keith saved their lives.”

His comrades confirmed Coe’s protective nature during a recent ceremony in Iraq. Some of their comments were read aloud during the memorial at Lewis-McChord Wednesday.

“I know that Sgt. Coe is saying, ‘I’m glad it was me, and not one of my guys,’” Capt. Matt Kuhlman told soldiers during the battlefield service.

Kuhlman described Coe as a man filled with energy, personality and an “overabundance of confidence.”

Soldiers often heard the sergeant’s “unmistakable laugh,” Kuhlman said.

Also read aloud were the words of Coe’s friend and fellow sergeant, Jason Stewart, who is still in Iraq.

“He led by example, and loved leading soldiers,” Stewart said. “He made me want to be a better leader.” Coe joined the Army in 2007 to better himself, his family said in published reports. He extended his enlistment in January so he could study broadcast journalism in an Army public affairs course.

His daughter, Klover, was born while he was in Iraq. He saw her just once, on a brief trip home, The Ledger reported.

Family, whether by blood, marriage or military bonding, was at Coe’s core.

“I choose to remember him for his contagious laughter, his ability to not let the small stuff bother him and the way he loved his wife and family,” Stewart said.

‘Coe Daddy’ served as the family prankster

The Associated Press

Keith Coe and his brother, Matt, had a rough childhood and didn’t always get along. But that didn’t keep them from being close friends later in life.

As kids, Matt would say, “Let’s go to Blockbuster and get a movie.” Keith would reply, “Let’s get on top of Blockbuster and make a movie.”

“He kicked the crap out of me for the first 11 years of my life. You know, big brother stuff,” Matt Coe said.

Keith Coe also was the family prankster, the man known to his soldiers as “Coe Daddy” who worked extra hard to make sure the men reporting to him couldn’t outdo him.

The 30-year-old from Auburndale, Fla., was killed April 27 in Khalis, Iraq. He was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Keith Coe got into some trouble with the law and spent time in jail, but made a complete turnaround when he was released, his family said. He met his wife at a restaurant the pair worked at, and they capped off their marriage with a Hawaiian-themed wedding, said his grandmother Dawn Jones. Of course, grass hula skirts had to be part of the deal.

Among those surviving Coe are his wife, Katrina; two sons, Killian and Keith Jr., and a daughter, Klover.

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