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SSG Sean D. Diamond

SSG Sean D. Diamond

Army February 15, 2009

His name is etched on the stones of red rock canyon in Nevada, among the spires and cliffs that are swirled and striped in shades of red and pink. It’s a beautiful place, a hot place, and now among the historic red stones, a collection of new histories stands. Arranged in a half circle display the memorium of service members who have lost lives defending our freedom since the fateful day of September 11, 2001, are now a permanent collection in the canyon.

As a combat engineer, for the 610th Engineer Support Company from Fort Lewis, Diamond’s last missions moved him forward into desolate parts of Iraq to bring the areas to life through construction. February 15, 2009, was the fateful day that his family and friends will always remember. He was traveling through As Salam, Iraq, near Baghdad when a roadside bomb struck the Humvee Diamond was riding in.

He was proud of the roads and buildings his unit was constructing in Iraq – having completed more than 25 construction projects and more than 100 patrols. When asked about his missions he said, “Don’t listen to all this stuff you hear on the news, we’re actually doing really great things over here.”

Diamond began his military career in 1987 as an Infantryman. After a full tour on active duty and a second tour in the reserves, he took a short break. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Diamond returned to active duty, this time as a heavy construction equipment operator for a combat engineering company.

Shortly before departing for his third Iraq deployment, Diamond’s mother asked him if he was getting too old to deploy. In response, he said that they needed help over there and that he couldn’t send the young soldiers in alone. It was difficult to leave his very close-knit family, but service to his country was a calling he needed to fulfill.

Diamond loved two things in life: his family and flying. He was a heavy equipment operator in uniform but a pilot out of uniform. He earned a pilot’s license in the early 1990s and regularly rented a single-engine plane to fly around the bay area of California, where he lived at the time. It was how he and his wife spent their first date – flying. Years later, with little time to fly, he kept the passion alive by sharing it with his children. Diamond could be found sitting outside with his family, listening to the chatter of pilots on a radio scanner. Diamond’s body was returned home to the same airport that more than a decade earlier, he used to practice his own landings.

Service was an important part of Diamond as a person – when his twin brother was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma; it was Diamond who tested, matched and donated stem cells to aid in his brother’s recovery. It was a life-saving gift for one and all who knew his work to ensure that the life and memory of the other still lives on.

While Staff Sergeant Sean Diamond’s name stands on the west coast of the United States, it also stands in a place of respite on the other side of the world – a small forward base in the south area of Iraq’s Diyala Province. Soldiers of the 571st Sapper Company were tasked with creating a new Joint Security Station (JSS) after weeks of working in the area. It would become a place for all military forces, both American and Iraqi, to stage equipment, take a break after combat missions, and prepare for new missions.

Upon completion of the base, all were in agreement that JSS Diamond was a fitting name. A place of safety and security was exactly the way those who served with him described him. After forty-one years of life, four children and three combat deployments, Diamond’s seasoning in soldiering and fatherhood was steeped into the soldiers who served under him. He was their mentor, their leader, and their friend.

We thank you for helping us to honor the sacrifice made by those who raised their right hands and swore to defend our country against enemies foreign and domestic. When you run for a fallen service member, you are helping to keep their memory and their story alive. Each Wednesday we will share the story of those we honor – because we are grateful for your commitment to them and we are grateful for their sacrifice.

By Nicole Smart 

Army Veteran | photojournalist

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