August 9, 2010

In memory of 2nd Lt. Mark Jason Pincek

My cousin Carolyn and her husband Steve, whose pictures I shared in my earlier posts about meeting up with them at the National Square Dance convention, are mourning the loss of Steve's son, Mark Jason Pincek, who was killed in July when a commuter van pulled out into an intersection and rammed the motorcycle he was driving.

I've just read the moving obituary that follows and am sharing it with any family members who may not have seen it.

From the Sierra Vista Herald, July 17, 2010 By Bill Hess
FORT HUACHUCA — He was described as fearless, a leader, a man who enjoyed life and who was a faithful husband and friend.  That is how some fellow officers remembered 2nd Lt. Mark Jason Pincek, who died Sunday from injuries suffered in a motorcycle and commercial van accident on the post last week.

Thursday, a short memorial service for the former enlisted sailor for five years was held at the Main Post Chapel Chaplain (Lt. Col.) John H.G. Rasmussen said Pincek, a 36-year-old officer, “had the makings of a leader.”But his Army career was cut short and his leadership skills will never be fully recognized, the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion chaplain added. From the time of the accident to his death, family, classmates and friends gathered at the Tucson hospital where they talked about “this young man, a comrade-in-arms, even through their tears,” Rasmussen said.

Looking at the more than 400 people in the sanctuary, the chaplain said there is a danger people who loved Pincek have to overcome. The danger to despair” is easy to accept because of the unfulfilled promise that once beat within the lieutenant, Rasmussen said. One time people were speaking to a live man, and then, snapping his fingers, the chaplain said, “The next (moment) he was gone.” It was a short period of time “that stole him from us,”  Rasmussen said. Despair can be overcome by remembering the importance of faith, he said. . . .

The sanctuary was lightly decorated for the memorial service.  A arrangement of red, white and blue flowers,  American and unit flags, a helmet on top of a rifle and combat boots on the floor, a small framed photo of Pincek with a larger picture of him projected onto a screen.

Born in Michigan and raised in Florida, the soldier entered the Army on Sept. 17, 2009, and went through Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. After leaving the Navy, where he rose to the rank of petty officer second class and served two deployments aboard the USS Vicksburg as a gunner’s mate, Pincek graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in communication and film studies. Before entering the Army, he had a career in film editing in Los Angeles. Upon completing OCS, he was assigned to Charlie Company of the 304th and completed the Military Intelligence Basic Officer Leadership School and then was assigned to the 304th’s Bravo Company updating the Afghanistan training scenario. His work in the training scenario function earned him many laudatory comments.

He is survived by his wife, Kerin; father, Stephen; mother, Dianne Heskett-Ward; brothers, Steven, Duane and Devin; sisters, Diana, Nancy, Susan, Sandy and Mara; and a host of soldiers. Pincek’s name was called out three times near the end of the ceremony. After 1st Sgt. Kendall E. Bean called out the namea of a couple of second lieutenants, who answered “present,” he called out “Lt. Pincek,” to no response, then again, “Lt. Pincek,’ again no response and then “2nd Lt. Mark Jason Pincek,” and still no answer. Pincek’s final earthly roll call was completed and followed by a 21-rifle salute and the 24 mournful notes of “Taps.”

But the chaplain had earlier told the congregation while Pincek would not answer the roll call in the chapel, there will be another opportunity. When all is said and done, this is not the final roll call. There will be another and Mark will answer,” Rasmussen said. Until that day, the soldiers in the sanctuary slowly walked up to the altar, paused and saluted, their farewell until the next heavenly roll call. Today, the soldier’s remains will be laid to rest in Fort Huachuca’s Old Post Cemetery.

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