Image courtesy: U.S Army
It's been almost five years since Pfc. Amy Bullock Sinkler graduated high school. Yet even to this day, one of her teachers still remembers the look on her face the night she took such an important step toward becoming a productive member of society.
"She had that big smile on her face that she had from the day she walked in here," Brian McClendy, who teaches at West Columbus High School in Cerro Gordo, North Carolina, told WECT-TV. "She had her diploma and she was ready to take on the world with that positive attitude she had."
That's exactly what she did. The Army said Pfc. Sinkler enlisted in August 2009, and was stationed at Alaska's Fort Richardson with the 109th Transportation Company, 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. Sinkler, whose maiden name is Bullock, married her high school sweetheart last year and was spending her first months as a newlywed in Alaska before deploying to Afghanistan.
After the 23-year-old motor transport operator arrived in the war zone, Sinkler's sister told WECT's Gavin Johnson that she experienced losing a friend in combat, which deeply shook the soldier. Two warriors from Sinkler's unit, Pfc. William Dawson, 20, and Pfc. Jaysine Petree, 19, died in a September 24 improvised explosive device attack between Ghanzi and Bagram Air Field. The devastating loss made Sinkler yearn for the arms of her loved ones.
Tragically, Sinkler was reunited with her family in a dignified transfer ceremony at Delaware's Dover Air Force Base on Saturday. According to the Pentagon, the soldier was killed January 20 in Baghlan province when terrorists attacked her unit with a rocket-propelled grenade. Sinkler leaves behind her husband in Alaska and many loved ones and friends in eastern North Carolina.
"Amy was a sweet, loving, kind hearted person," Britteny Bullock told the television station. "Everyone who met her loved her."
Less than a week after her death, more than 500 people have already joined a Facebook tribute group called "In Loving Memory of Amy Renee Bullock-Sinkler."
"We drive vehicles," a fellow Army motor transport operator posted. "It's dangerous, but we have no fear. We are amongst the bravest. Other soldiers look up to us as a sign of relief and hope when we come. Road Dogz!"
As she smiled and proudly displayed her high school diploma on a warm spring evening in 2006, Pfc. Amy Bullock Sinkler could have done anything she wanted with her life. She eventually chose to risk everything in service to her country. On this cold 2011 winter morning, she has the respect and admiration of the grateful nation she stepped up to defend.
Image courtesy: U.S. Air Force/Roland Balik