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A Final Farewell

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Army Captain Sean Patrick Sims made the ultimate sacrifice on November 13 as he led his unit in Iraq. Monday, he was remembered by those who called him son, husband, father and friend.

"My son was a very strong Catholic," said Thomas "Reb" Sims, Sean's father, "and the ceremony was a beautiful Catholic funeral mass, and I think he would have appreciated it."

The service for Capt. Sims was held in St. Mary's Catholic Church, the same church he frequented as an A&M student. The 1994 graduate found direction in College Station as an Aggie, probably a big part of why he was buried there instead of his native El Paso. According to his father Monday night, his becoming a soldier was almost inevitable.

"Sean just felt it in his blood," said his father, a retired Army colonel. "He felt that was his calling in life, his vocation, and I think early on in his life, decided that's what he wanted to do."

Sean, his wife Heidi, and 10-month-old son Colin were stationed in Germany when he received his orders for Iraq. As commander of Alpha Company in the 1st Infantry Division's Task Force, his final missions came in the streets of war-torn Fallujah. Before that, he was a part of the elite Ross Volunteers, who bore his coffin Monday. Among the friends and family in attendance, some prominent figures also paid their respects.

"This is a very sad day," said Texas A&M President Robert Gates. "Sean Sims is a real hero. He represents the best of what Aggies are all about.

"Words are hard to express, the sacrifice that has been made by Capt. Sims and almost a thousand others just like him," said Texas state representative Steve Ogden.

As part of a family of military men like his dad, 32-year-old Sean Sims was born and bred for service. It is a fact the family takes somber solace in.

"He died the way he probably would have wanted to," his father said, "facing the front, at the head of his troops. If he had to choreograph his own end, that's probably what he would have done. But as I've said before, he didn't want to die. He had everything to live for."