MANNHEIM, Germany - Saying goodbye to those who make the ultimate sacrifice is never easy.

However, memorial services like the one held March 17 at the Benjamin Franklin Village chapel here for a fallen Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician with the 720th EOD Company afforded the more than 300 Soldiers, civilians and family members in attendance an outlet to remember him and honor his service.

Staff Sgt. Eric Trueblood from the 16th Sustainment Brigade's 391st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, died from wounds suffered while conducting operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, recently.

During the memorial ceremony, the Alameda, Calif., native was remembered as "a great American, one of our finest and best Soldiers ... Eric served his nation and fellow Soldiers the only way he knew how, putting himself in harm's way so that other Soldiers wouldn't have to," said Lt. Col. Scott Luekenga, the commander of the 391st CSSB.

After approaching the podium and surveying those in attendance, Staff Sgt. Gabriel Burkman, the rear detachment commander for 720th EOD Co., said, "I can't tell you how thankful I am that all of you showed up today. This is truly a turnout worthy of Staff Sgt. Eric Stanley Trueblood."

Recalling times spent together, Burkman remembered Trueblood as someone who "was going to work hard and he was going to play hard. He was going to tell you how it was. He was going to have your back, even when things were getting rough. He was definitely going to make you laugh. I can only hope I meet another person who is as well liked and respected as Eric was."

In a letter read by Burkman, 1st Sgt. Daniel Hope, the first sergeant of the 720th EOD Co., expressed his sorrow after recounting his collective impression of numerous conversations and experiences with Trueblood.

"I will always remember the times we shared and hold the memories near and dear to my heart. We learned from each other and grew together as brothers in arms," said Hope. "I speak for all the Soldiers currently serving in 720th EOD Co. and those who previously served and moved on to other units when I say that we are all grief stricken and heartbroken over his passing, yet honored to have been afforded the opportunity and the privilege to share in his life."

"We must celebrate his life and his service in the manner which best suits us all. But always remember Staff Sgt. Trueblood was a non commissioned officer who deeply cared for everyone, a Soldier who we should all emulate," said Luekenga.

Trueblood is survived by his parents, Donald Trueblood of Alameda, Calif., and Linda Trueblood of Mt. View, Calif.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16