Staff photo by Dean H. Borgwardt
CAMP Verde firefighter Randy Killman fastens yellow ribbons on lampposts Monday to honor a former Verde Valley marine and fellow paramedic Gunner Sgt. Edward Reeder, 32, who was recently killed in a accident while traveling from Fallujah to Baghdad.
Camp Verde Fire Department firefighter Randy Killman fastens bright yellow ribbons on the lamp posts as fellow firefighter Pat Oium totes the supply on a sunny morning on Aug. 30.
Oium said that it is in memory of a U.S. Marine and former resident of the Verde Valley who was recently killed in Iraq.
Gunner Sgt. Edward Reeder, 32, died in a convoy accident while traveling from Fallujah to Bagdad.
"This is in his memory," Oium said. "We plan to put ribbons on as many light posts as we can."
It is believed that Reeder is the first soldier identified as having ties to the Verde Valley who was killed while serving in the War on Terrorism in Iraq.
Reeder was a 1990 Camp Verde High School graduate connected to both Camp Verde and Rimrock, and has roots traced back to 1912 when a distant relative moved to Flagstaff before Arizona was granted statehood.
Reeder, a Flagstaff native, died when a tank apparently struck the back of the vehicle in which he was riding, ejecting two occupants and killing both.
He leaves a wife of six years, a 10-month-old son and a 5-year-old daughter who all reside in North Carolina.
Reeder's mother is a teacher in Mayer and his father is a cowboy working in the Prescott area.
Reeder's widow said Edward joined the Marine Corps after high school and intended to be a career Marine.
He served in Bosnia, Liberia and Somalia and in two earlier tours of duty in the Persian Gulf.
Reeder also volunteered as an emergency medical technician for the North Carolina fire departments in Jacksonville and Hubert.
An honor guard of firefighters was to attend funeral services where Reeder was buried with full military honors in a Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Monday.
According to the Department of Defense, as of Aug. 27, some 968 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq in March 2003.
According to the Associated Press, the British military has reported 64 deaths; Italy, 18; Spain, 11; Poland, 10; Bulgaria, six; Ukraine, six; Slovakia, three; Thailand, two; and Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and the Netherlands have reported one death each.
Since May 1, 2003, when President George W. Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 830 U.S. soldiers have died -- 615 as a result of hostile actions and 215 of non-hostile causes.
Reeder's funeral was Aug. 30, in Salisbury, N.C.