By Gabrielle KuholskiMay 24, 2013
Fort Huachuca, AZ. - Family members, friends and Soldiers from the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training Center 2nd Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment, gathered in Fort Huachuca's Main Post Chapel May 17 to remember and honor the life of recently deceased Staff Sgt. Keith Kiser. During the service, Kiser was described as having a robust personality along with a sense of humor. The number of peers and coworkers who packed the chapel, spilled into the entryway or watched from outside seemed to be a tribute to his popularity.
"He frequently stopped by my office to update me with the latest status of his platoon, or whatever he was working on that day and just before leaving. He would tell a quick joke that would leave us laughing," said Capt. Tyler Penn, Company A, 2-13th Avn. Reg. commander.
However, Kiser's dedication to the Army was no laughing matter. After graduating from Keystone High School in Wellington, Ohio, he joined the Army as a 14S, an air and missile defense crewmember. He spent nearly 15 years as a 14S serving at Fort Hill, Okla.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Camp Stanley, South Korea; and Larson Air Force Base, Germany.
In 2007, Kiser became a 15W unmanned aerial vehicle operator at Fort Huachuca. He served as a member of Task Force Odin (Observe, Detect, Identify and Neutralize) at Fort Hood, Texas, and later with Co. A, 2-13th Avn. Reg. as an instructor and platoon sergeant. Kiser's awards include the Bronze Star along with multiple campaign medals and awards.
"What I'd like everyone to leave here knowing, is that it was Sergeant Kiser's wish in life to be a Soldier and a noncommissioned officer," Penn said. "He spent over 20 years of life fulfilling this dream and if it were up to him, he would have spent his very last day on earth in ACUs (Army combat uniforms), at Alpha Company, in front of his troops."
During the eulogy, Sgt. 1st Class Jo Enamorado, Co. A, 2-13th, Avn. Reg., described how Kiser would motivate each student and instilled a sense of pride in everyone, whether Soldier or civilian. She commented on how he could see each person's different learning style and adjusted his training methods accordingly.
Kiser died April 25 after a year-long battle with cancer. Enamorado said that although the illness affected his body, it never hindered his spirit. She compared his death to turning off a lamp at the light of dawn.
" ... on April 25, he closed his eyes for the last time, he turned off that lamp, he opened them right back up to the dawn of heaven," Enamorado said, bringing tears to the eyes of those who attended. "I can only imagine that the good Lord saw Sergeant Kiser and quoted him and said, 'Welcome to the Hope platoon, troop.'"
Kiser was preceded in death by his father. He is survived by his mother, three brothers, two sisters-in-law, three nieces and two nephews.