NEWPORT NEWS, VA, USA U.S. Army SGT, 237TH ENGINEER BATTALION, WEST POINT, VA SAN ANTONIO 11/14/2007
Army Specialist Derek R. Banks was a member of the Army National Guard 237th Engineer Company, 276th. Banks was voted most popular during his senior year in high school, where he played on the football and basketball teams. He’s one of those guys that you notice, said Ernest Bethel, Banks’ classmate. He was a people person. He wanted to get people involved in what he was doing. I can’t recall a day that he was down, said Craig Brehon, Banks’ former basketball coach. That’s the part I remember about Derek. The smile he always had on his face.
Banks, 24, of Newport News, Va., died Nov. 14, 2007 in San Antonio of roadside bomb wounds suffered Oct. 25 in Baghdad. He was on his second tour and was assigned to West Point, Va.
Banks liked to watch the TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – so much that he majored in criminal justice at Virginia State University.
Outside of the Guard, he worked at Northrop Grumman Newport News, the builder of nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines.
Friend Philip Ward described Banks as a positive guy with a talent for freestyle rapping, especially if he had help from someone doing beat box.
He is survived by his wife, Sheena, and son, Derek Jr.