Fort Bragg, N.C. — Fort Bragg will hold a memorial service Wednesday for a flight medic killed in Afghanistan while on a mission to help wounded troops.
Staff Sgt. Robert Cowdrey, 39, and his crew in the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade were called out to pick up wounded coalition forces in the Kunar Province on Oct. 13. His Medevac unit came under enemy fire, and Cowdrey was injured and later died.
"It's a shock to everyone. You don't want to believe that it's happening to one of yours," Capt. Brian Downs said.
Cowdrey, an original a member of Company C, 3rd Battalion, had just begun a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan. It was his fourth trip to a combat zone.
"His service to the Army during time of war speaks volumes about him as an individual," Lt. Col. Jeffrey Cheeks said.
Medics like Cowdrey always face danger when they act to save lives, his commander, Maj. Graham Bundy, said.
"In our mission specifically, the ability to not get it done really isn't there. There's a person on the ground who is bleeding or injured that requires further care," Bundy said.
At a memorial service in Afghanistan, fellow soldiers remembered Cowdrey as a great mentor, even better friend and an irreplacable, experienced professional.
"I can truly say that in all my years of Medevac, I've never met someone more committed to the company, its mission or the people who depend on us," Bundy said.
Cowdrey was a blogger, loved dogs and was completed devoted to his family and fellow soldiers, according to his comrades.
"Through his tough leadership style, he earned the respect of those he worked with. That is how he built such strong friendships," Sgt. First Class Lottie Weidle said.
Cowdrey is survived by his wife, Kimberly, and three sons, who live in Sanford. His oldest son, Justin, is following in his footsteps as a Medevac soldier. Funeral services were held in his hometown of La Junta, Colo.