Some 300 mourners attended Sunday’s funeral for one of two Iowa National Guardsmen who were killed in Iraq late last month. 20-year-old Specialist Kampha Sourivong died September 30th during a gunbattle. Army Chaplain Gary Selof spoke at Sourivong’s service in Iowa City. Selof said “He laid down his life for the freedoms we are so blessed to have. For that, he will never be forgotten.”
Family, friends and fellow soldiers pledged to keep Sourivong’s memory alive by remembering happier times. Selof had this to add. He said “His mom said, ‘Boy, he could really charm the women.’ He liked to party. He liked to hang out with friends. And he really loved being in the National Guard.” Sourivong arrived in Iraq in May of 2006 as a member of the Iowa Falls-based Company C, First Battalion, 133rd Infantry.
Sourivong’s brother, Neal Vasey, also spoke at Sunday’s service. Vasey said “You will always be in our hearts and will never die there. To me, you’re always first my brother and then a soldier.” Sourivong wanted to be a special education teacher after he finished serving his country. 48-year-old Sergeant First Class Scott Nisely was killed during the same attack in Iraq.
Nisely was a native of Marshalltown. His funeral is scheduled for today (Monday) in Marshalltown. 16 Iowa National Guard soldiers have died in Iraq since the September 11th attacks.