Soldier's dedication, character remembered
January 28, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Family, friends, and Soldiers from 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, gathered to remember and honor the life of Pfc. Markie T. Sims in a memorial ceremony at Lewis North Chapel, Jan. 23.
Sims, 20, died Dec. 29, 2012, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device, which detonated under his vehicle during a route clearance mission in Panjwa'i district, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 38th Engineer Company, 4th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div.
"Private First Class Sims joined the Raider team in spring and immediately demonstrated his dedication to all things 'Sapper,'" read 1st Lt. Marcus Forrester, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div., rear detachment commander, on behalf of Lt. Col. James Dooghan, commander of 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div., referring to Sims' performance at the brigade's National Training Center mission rehearsal exercise rotation.
In combat, according to Dooghan, Sims provided needed and specialized skills and was a valuable member of a "brave band of warriors" dedicated to making every route movement safer for the International Security Assistance Force, Afghan National Security Forces, and Afghan civilians alike.
On Dec. 29, Sims displayed the same level of commitment as he took part in a critical mission to clear a primary route for ground forces, enabling the Soldiers of Company A to get close enough to the target, said Forrester.
The area was secured to prevent injury to innocent civilians and multiple rockets struck and destroyed two reinforced buildings typically used by the enemy during the spring and summer months to support attacks against coalition forces and Afghans, continued Forrester.
The buildings were reduced to rubble and the mission was a success.
"Private First Class Sims' contribution as a sapper with 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon, 38th Engineer Company, will never be forgotten and his sacrifice was not in vain," Forrester said.
Pfc. William Newton, who was injured in the blast that took the life of one of his best friends, spoke of the integral role Sims played in every life he touched.
"The pain I feel goes without words," said Newton. "But I know that if you could talk to me now, you would say 'shake it off and drive on'," he continued.
"My life, along with many others, has been, and still is, imprinted by you. I promise to keep you in my heart and on my mind. You are always with me, rest in peace, brother," Newton said.
According to Dooghan, Sims lived his life to the fullest and impacted everyone he made contact with. He will be remembered as a loving husband, an honorable son, a professional soldier, a valiant warrior and a role model for other young soldiers.
"We will forever remember the levity he brought to the toughest of circumstances and his positive perception of life," Forrester said.
Pfc. Markie T. Sims, of Citra, Fla., was born Jan. 6, 1992. He ran track, played football and basketball while attending North Marion High School and later graduated Marion Technical Institute in 2011. He entered the Army in November 2011 and attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in the Military Occupational Specialty 12B, Combat Engineer.
In March 2012, Sims was assigned to the 38th Eng. Company, 4th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div., at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. He deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon Gunner in October 2012.
Sims was widely known back home in Florida for his athletic abilities and was nicknamed "Smoke" for his speed on the track and football field. He enjoyed playing pranks on people to make them laugh and was also known as "Scooter" after his father's nickname of "Skeeter."
His football coach at North Marion High School remembers Sims as a very hardworking young man who always had a motivating smile on his face.
Sims' military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal and the Combat Action Badge.
He is survived by his wife, Shakeli Boone, father Henry Lee Sims, Sr., mother Wanda Thompson, and three brothers Demarrio, Henry Jr., and Defonzio, and sister Lashay.