OGDEN, Iowa – An Iowa National Guardsman who was killed in Iraq was remembered Tuesday for his contagious laughter and love of pool.
Sgt. Daniel Sesker, 22, of Ogden, was killed April 6 when a bomb exploded near his Humvee, military officials said. He was manning a gun aboard the vehicle when insurgents detonated the bomb outside Tikrit.
"If you were having a bad day, he was the one to put a smile on your face," said Spc. Shane Sinn, a former high school classmate.
Sgt. David Bollenbaugh, who also went to high school with Sesker, joked about his friend's love of pool and tater tots.
"He loved to joke around and he never lost his smile, or that machine gun laugh," Bollenbaugh said.
He said Sesker was a brave soldier and that he always led as a gunner.
"He wouldn't take anything but the lead job, he didn't want to be anywhere else," Bollenbaugh said.
Guard officials said Sesker had recently discovered his fiance was pregnant and was hoping to leave Iraq as early as this year to meet his newborn.
Sinn said he and Sesker were looking forward to raising their children together.
"I will tell our kids about the hero you are and the hero who gave 150 percent for our country," Sinn said.
Hundreds of people packed into the flower-filled gym at Ogden High School for the service. A video slide show displayed images of Sesker's life while music played. Burial was to follow at Linwood Park Cemetery in Boone.
Sesker, born in Boone in 1983, graduated from Ogden High School in 2001. He was deployed to Kosovo in 2003 as part of Operation Joint Guardian. In July 2005, he volunteered to join the Le Mars-based Troop C, 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry, which performs reconnaissance and surveillance missions. The unit arrived in Iraq late last year and Sesker was scheduled to return late this year or in early 2007.
Between his tours of duty, he worked as a counselor at Woodward Academy and a part-time police officer in Gowrie.