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MILITARY DEATHS

Army National Guard Sgt. Shakere T. Guy, 23, Pomona; Killed in Explosion

November 27, 2005|Marla Cone | Times Staff Writer

Army National Guard Sgt. Shakere T. Guy was known among his fellow soldiers for his fun-loving sense of humor and his efforts to help the Iraqi people. He used his own money to buy the children toys, soccer balls, clothes and candy.

Born in Jamaica, Guy became a U.S. citizen in July 2004. A few months later, the 23-year-old Pomona resident was dispatched to Iraq as a member of the National Guard's 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment in Modesto.

Guy was one of two guardsmen killed Oct. 29 when a roadside bomb exploded near the Humvee they were riding in during a combat mission in Baghdad. Also killed was National Guard Capt. Raymond D. Hill II, 39, of Turlock, Calif.

Guy, who was engaged to be married, is survived by his mother, Donna Sanguinette, and a sister, Tracy Ann Smith, both of Pomona.

At an emotional memorial service for Guy and three other soldiers in the same company, including the battalion commander, who were killed within a few days, one friend recalled that Guy was beside him the first time they were attacked with explosives.

"I couldn't have asked for a better soldier by my side," the unidentified soldier said in a eulogy for Guy. "He performed very well at his assigned duties, whether it be as a gunner or driver. He maintained a high level of alertness, and was quick to point out weaknesses to help the team. Guy wore the uniform proudly.

"There are many things for which Guy will be remembered, but what we will never forget is his desire to help others and his commitment to the mission assigned to him."

Guy and Hill were killed during Operation Clean Sweep, a mission to search for insurgents who have been attacking U.S. soldiers, said Maj. Richard Lalor of the National Guard.

Lt. Ky Cheng, also from Pomona, who served in the same company as Guy, said Guy's platoon was involved in humanitarian and civilian affairs work to help Iraqi communities.

"He said he wasn't there to fight or hurt. He wanted to help," said Cheng, who was wounded in early October and has returned home. "He wanted to make a difference. He was a genuine person who sincerely cared."

Guy "had fun with life and would take an awkward situation and make it funny," Cheng said, adding that he would have made a great comedian.

A graduate of Pomona High School, Guy worked at a Home Depot store in Mira Loma, and joined the National Guard in 2000 to help pay for his education. Just before he died, he told his mother and colleagues that, when he returned from Iraq, his goal was to return to school to get a degree in computer engineering.

"Although his personal goals were not accomplished," the fellow soldier said in his eulogy, "he did manage to accomplish a greater goal -- giving other human beings a better way of life through countless hours of no sleep and a lot of hard work and sweat."

Trained as a tank driver but deployed as a gunner, Guy had served in Iraq for 10 months and was expected to return home in December. He was awarded, among other badges and medals, a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and National Defense Service Medal.

His National Guard battalion has often been under fire in insurgent attacks and bombings, with 11 soldiers killed and more than 100 wounded among its 700 troops.

Guy returned home for two weeks in April and spoke by phone with his mother four days before he died. She told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that her son would not talk about the war when he visited, and that she told him: "Whatever it takes, get out of there alive."

"I am still having trouble absorbing the fact that you have parted with us," his friend said in the eulogy. "The only thing that I can think of is that God looked around and found an empty place, he put his arms around you and lifted you to rest and only he knows why."

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