HAY SPRINGS, NE,US
SGT, BATTERY A 3D BATTALION 319TH FIELD ARTILLERY, FORT BRAGG, NC
01/27/2004, ISKANDARIYAH, IRAQ
Flags were flown Febuary 4 at half-staff over City Hall in honor of Army Sergeant Cory Mracek, who was killed in Iraq last week. Governor Mike Johanns issued a proclamation to permit the action on the day of Mracek’s funeral.
Mracek, 26, was born in Chadron and grew up in nearby Hay Springs. The soldier’s funeral was to be held Jan. 4 at Chadron State College. Mracek was among three soldiers killed in Iraq Jan. 27 when a roadside bomb exploded west of Baghdad. He had been in Iraq just eight days.
Just hours before he died, Cory sent an online instant message to his mother saying everything was fine. “He sounded good,” said Pat Mracek, of Hay Springs, Neb. “He was getting ready to go out on patrol. He said, ‘It’s not as bad as you think, mom.'”
Mracek was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and had left for Iraq on Jan. 16. Pat Mracek said her son first joined the National Guard, then enlisted in the Army in 1996 when he couldn’t find a job. He did two tours of Korea.
“He loved the military, he was so excited to go to Iraq; a little apprehensive, I think, but mostly excited,” his mother said.
Mracek loved computers, video games and movies: “He’s got so much ‘Star Wars’ memorabilia, I don’t know where I’m going to put it all,” his mother said.
His mom said he loved Army life and was very proud to serve his country. He was with the 82nd Airborne and planned to get into Rangers when he got back from Iraq.
She said “He believed the U.S. needed to be there to keep the terrorists on foreign soil, not on our land. He loved sports, especially football and hockey. He had a great sense of humor and immediately fit in whenever he had to go to a new unit. His laugh was contagious.”
“We certainly miss him, but we are so proud of him and all that have given their lives, and who continue to protect our freedom.”
He was not married so he is survived by his mom and dad Jim and Pat, and sisters, Stacy, 19 and Heather, 15.