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Portals fallen soldier remembered
Sgt. Brock Henry Chavers Sr. killed by bomb blast in Afghanistan
Sgt. Brock Henry Chavers Sr. - photo by Special
    A bomb killed a National Guard soldier from Portal Monday. A soldier from Columbus was also killed in the blast, which occurred near Kunduz, Afghanistan, military spokesmen said.
    Sgt. Brock Henry Chavers Sr., 25, Portal, was assigned to Americus' Company D, 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry, of the Georgia National Guard, said  Sgt First Class Roy Henry, with the Georgia National Guard Public Affairs Office.
    Chavers died of wounds sustained when an "Improvised Explosive Device (IED)  exploded near the Humvee in which he was riding," Henry said. Chavers' Humvee was fifth in line in a convoy.
    Both he and Spc. Isaac Lee Johnson Jr., 24, of Columbus were among seven soldiers killed in recent incidents, according to the Associated Press.  Bodies of seven military service members killed in separate incidents in Afghanistan were returned Wednesday to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
    Chavers was a well-liked and respected man in the Portal community, said Col. Phil Turner, retired senior Army instructor for the Bulloch County Schools' JROTC program. He remembered Chavers mostly for his ambition and respectability.
    "He had seven brothers and sisters, and a single mother," he said. "All the kids were in JROTC and all achieved the highest rank. All have done well, and she ( mother Lois Chavers) did a fantastic job with all seven."
    Chavers has three brothers in the military in Afghanistan, Iraq and Honduras, said Master Sgt. Bill Rogers, who also taught Chavers in ROTC at Portal High School.
    "I taught Brock for four years," he said. "He was a good man, always motivated, and to my knowledge was a good soldier," he said. "It really saddened me ( hearing of his death.)"
    Portal Mayor Larry Motes and other community leaders met Thursday night to discuss a memorial service or similar recognition honoring Chavers. Plans regarding the event will be released later after they are finalized, he said.
    Henry said funeral arrangements have not been finalized and will be handled by the Chavers family, with assistance from a Georgia National Guard Casualty Assistance officer.
    After being notified of the soldiers' deaths, Governor Sonny Perdue issued a statement, Henry said. That statement read: "This past weekend, as hundreds of millions of Americans celebrated our nation's independence, our brave sons and daughters were halfway around the world still protecting that freedom.
    "Celebrating our independence also means remembering the long line of heroes that have laid down their lives so that our country and others around the world can enjoy freedom," Perdue stated.
    Maj. Gen. William T. Nesbitt, Georgia's Adjutant General, also issued a statement: "The deaths of Sgt. Brock Henry Chavers Sr. and Spc. Isaac Lee Johnson Jr. are a devastating loss for the nation, the state, the Georgia Guard and most of all, the families of these fine men,"  he said. "This heartbreaking news, that two of our courageous young soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan reminds us, yet again, that the cost of freedom is high."
    "Sergeant Chavers and Specialist Johnson, both members of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, were special soldiers, not only to their own families, but to our Guard family," he said. "Their courage and exemplary service reflect the professionalism to which every soldier aspires."
    "It hurts to see someone like that (lose their life)," Rogers said. "A young man trying to serve his country."
    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.
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