Statement from the family of U.S. Army Capt. Mark Garner, 30, native of State Road, North Carolina and graduate of Elkin High School and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Please feel free to forward this along as needed.

Mark was traveling as a passenger in an M-1151 Humvee with a convoy of U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialists when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device killing him and another passenger. Other occupants of the vehicle traveling in southeast Afghanistan were injured.

We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the families of MarkÝs fallen comrades and the families of the sailors who were injured in the attack. Know that we will pray for their speedy recovery.

Please be praying for the safety of the nearly 200 soldiers in MarkÝs company currently fighting this difficult fight as well as dealing with the loss of their company commander. We pray that they will all return safely to Hohenfels, Germany to be with their families.

As difficult as this is to accept, it is made easier by the thought that Mark was happy and content as a Soldier. Mark died doing the job he loved, and we will cherish fond memories of him forever. He was a dedicated Soldier, and we are very proud of him.

There are no words to express how much Mark will be missed by his family and friends and the others who had the privilege to know him. His memory will forever remain in our hearts as people share fond stories of Mark, many of which include comments about his larger-than-life smile and depth of character.

Mark loved his family beyond words, especially his parents, Beth and Don, and his sisters, Jo and Rachel, and often spoke very fondly of his time growing up in the Elkin area. He loved his family, loved his country, loved the Army lifestyle and loved exploring new and exciting places.

He enjoyed running and spending time with his fellow Soldiers, but the two main things he was wild about were his wife and traveling. When questioned he would say he loved traveling and his wife, and nothing could be better than traveling with his wife, Nickayla.

He visited 52 countries in the last 12 years, places where most people never go, such as Indonesia, China, Bulgaria, Transdiniestria and Albania. Mark loved to drive and explore, so most of his travels were by car. He had his free-time travel planned out for three years in advance, but there just was never enough time for all of his ambitious and exciting travel plans. Although we donÝt know anything about his last few minutes, he was probably talking to the sailors in his convoy about his travels.

In Elkin and at all his military assignments, including ranger training, Mark was remembered for his positive attitude and friendly smile. Everyone enjoyed being around Mark, because he was always happy and was the ultimate optimist. Although full of confidence, he blushed easily, especially from NickaylaÝs antics, which he loved.

Mark was the commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, stationed in Hohenfels, Germany. His unitÝs mission in Afghanistan was to support the United Nations International Security Assistance Force as part of Task Force Zabul under the operational control of the Romanian Army.
The Soldiers in MarkÝs company not only patrolled their area of operations for enemy activity, but also did development work. This included training and mentoring Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, establishing schools and health clinics, distributing food and farm equipment and helping health care providers treat diseases in adults and children.

Funeral arrangements have not been completed, but the memorial service will be held at the First Baptist Church of Elkin, NC and funeral services will be handled by the Hodges Funeral Home. For information about the memorial service call Hodges Funeral Home at (336) 526-4460.

Point of Contact:
Nickayla Myers-Garner
Email for a telephone interview

A Community Says Goodbye
by Karen Martin, The Elkin Tribune, July 20, 2009
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The Elkin Tribune, July 15, 2009
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Garner’s Death Felt by Elkin
by Karen Martin, The Elkin Tribune, July 14, 2009
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A Hero Remembered — Capt. Mark Garner
by Karen Martin, The Elkin Tribune, July 11, 2009
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Capt. Mark Andess Garner, July 10, 2009
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Local Hero Dies in Middle East
by Karen Martin, The Elkin Tribune, July 9, 2009
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Faces of the Fallen
The Washington Post, July 6, 2009
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Honor the Fallen
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Eulogies for Captain Mark Andess Garner
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