ROCKY MOUNT, VA, USA U.S. Army CPL, TROOP I, 3D SQUADRON, 3D ACR, 4TH BCT (TF BAGHDAD), FORT CARSON, CO BAGHDAD, IRAQ 12/12/2005
Desiree Smith had urged Jared Kubasak to send her some photos of him as a soldier in Iraq to help ease her mind about his military duty there.
“I begged him to take some pictures,” Smith said Tuesday morning. “I wanted to see what he slept in. And where he went to eat.”
Kubasak, whom she had known since she and her twin sister, Darci, moved next door to him in Franklin County 10 years ago, she said, told her he was fighting a war and didn’t have time for such things.
On Monday, Smith learned that Kubasak, 25, an Army corporal with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based in Fort Carson, Colo., had died earlier that day after the Bradley fighting vehicle he was riding in ran over a land mine near Baghdad.
What Smith, 25, does know is that the friendship that she and her sister had with Kubasak that began when they were teenagers was much more than just neighborhood kids hanging out. “We considered him a brother, not a neighbor,” Smith said.
Smith said Kubasak had completed his first tour of duty in Iraq last year. His job then involved fixing tanks, but Smith said he wanted to do something more interesting, so when Kubasak re-enlisted in the Army six months ago, he volunteered for a more frontline position with an armored cavalry unit.
“He wanted more of a challenge, I’d have to say,” Smith said.
Kubasak had re-enlisted in part because he was hoping to return to Germany after his tour of duty in Iraq ended in February. Germany was where he had been stationed for much of his five-year Army career, Smith said.
“He loved Germany, and that’s why he enlisted in the Army to begin with. Because he wanted to travel,” she said.
From Jared’s mother Daina:
Jared was our only child. He joined the Army at age 19 after a year in community college. He was first a track vehicle mechanic and was stationed in Germany for several years. He loved the variety of Germany and was pretty good picking up languages, particularly German and Spanish. He found his niche in life in the Army. That was what he wanted to do, and he was going to do the full 20 years. He later changed to a Cavalry Scout, because he wanted to do more. Jared liked to laugh and tease a little, and he was very intelligent and loved to read, anything and everything, historical, religious, biographies, nonfiction, along with recreational reading of fiction of all kinds. Jared liked to present a tough front, but he had such a kind, loving heart. He had a deduction taken from his Army check to donate to Give Kids the World (where he had volunteered once with his grandmother in Florida).
I hope this gives a little idea of what our son was like. I did not pre-compose it, I just sat down and typed what came into my mind. It will never be the same for those of us who have lost a child. But we just try to do the best we can.