NEPTUNE, NJ, USA U.S. Army SGT, C CO, 1ST B, 5TH INF, 25TH INF DIVISION, (TF OLYMPIA), FORT LEWIS, WA MOSUL, IRAQ 02/03/2005
An Army sergeant killed in Iraq Thursday morning will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Monday with full military honors, according to officials at Fort Monmouth.
Sergeant Stephen R. Sherman, who lived with his family in the township for the last four years, died near Mosul after a homemade bomb hit the vehicle he was traveling in, according to his family and the Army.
Born in Virginia, Sherman and his family moved to New Jersey when he was 11. They lived in Spring Lake Heights before moving to Neptune. Sherman first went to Manasquan High School but graduated from High Technology High School in Middletown in 1996. He earned a degree in business administration from the University of Oregon in 2001.
After working in the private sector, he joined the Army in 2003 and trained as a chemical specialist, leaving for Iraq in October. Although his family has declined requests for interviews, his mother, Bernadette Sherman, described her son in an e-mail to the Asbury Park Press as a hard-working, responsible young man who loved the outdoors and who looked forward to his brother’s upcoming graduation from college.
“The fondest memories I have of Steve are of his loving and caring relationships with each of his family members,” Bernadette Sherman wrote. “After college and before enlisting in the Army, he had some free time but preferred not to be idle. He would keep himself busy with small, around-the-house jobs for his grandmother and me.”
Before enlisting in the U.S. Army, he managed a Budget Rent-A-War franchise in the Cayman Islands. Among his many interests were outdoor sports and survival skills including participating in an 80-day Outward Bound Excursion survival skills training course. He was a canoing enthusiast and often went on canoe trips to Canada with friends and family. He also enjoyed snowboarding, rock climbing and golf.
Sergeant Sherman will be remembered as a gentle and loving son who was determined to shield his mother from the harsh and frightening realities of war. In conversations and e-mail, he would often focus on the brighter aspects of a difficult situation. Things like the camaraderie of the troops and his interaction with the children of Iraq were the inspiration for much of his correspondence.
“He joined the Army because he thought that was a good thing to do,” his father Dick Sherman said. “He was a hero to me and his family and friends long before he met this tragic end. He was a hero for what he stood for. He was a great guy.”
“He enriched and enlivened the many lives he touched,” he said, adding that “he led a very exciting and adventurous life.”
“He had a strong will and body, but he was gentle and compassionate,” his father said. “He was much more than a loving son to me. He was a dear friend.”
Neptune resident Sergeant Stephen R. Sherman, formerly of Spring Lake Heights, died Thursday, February 3, 2005, while serving our country in Mosul, Iraq. He was 27 years old.