Soldier killed in helicopter crashed remembered

Associated Press

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Army sergeant who was one of 16 soldiers killed when their helicopter was shot down in Iraq was remembered on Nov. 15 as a devoted husband and loving father.

Family and friends of Sgt. Keelan Moss, 23, gathered for his funeral at the Greater Second Baptist Church in Little Rock. His wife, Jenifer Moss, said her husband was an amazing man and gifted writer.

“I lost my one true love,” she said. “I’m not going to cry because my husband admired me for being a strong woman and I don’t want to let him down.”

But at the soldier’s burial at the Arkansas State Veteran’s Cemetery in North Little Rock, Moss could not hold back her tears as a bugler played “Taps.”

“Why? Why did it have to be him? It’s not fair. It’s not fair.” she cried as family gathered around her.

Moments later she broke into tears again as a soldier presented her with the flag from atop Moss’ casket.

Moss was born in Little Rock and raised in Houston before he was stationed with the Army at Fort Sill, Okla. He was one of six soldiers from that base killed in an attack on a CH-47 Chinook helicopter carrying troops to the Baghdad International Airport on Nov. 2. He was deployed in April and was heading home for an early Thanksgiving.

Moss’ wife read letters the soldier wrote to her at the funeral.

“He was a really great writer and every letter he wrote was a poem,” she said. “I wanted everyone to know him personally.”

When she finished with her letter, she called forward Moss’ daughter, Marjani Nataeya Moss, 8, to read a letter her father wrote to her from Iraq on Oct. 16.

“How is my little princess doing?” Marjani read. “I love you so very, very much. I miss you so. Mommy said you are doing good at school. I want you to keep it up.”

Moss’ younger sister, Travanna Raphael, also spoke to the crowd, reading a poem for her brother.

“Your baby sister will always be grateful that you are the angel smiling down on me,” she said, wearing Moss’ dog tags around her neck and leaning on their mother, Velma Deawayne.

Deawayne said she is proud of the soldier.

“I always said I was so proud of you,” she told the congregation. “I often wondered if I said it too much. Now I know I didn’t.”

Family mourns loss of fallen soldier

LAWTON, Okla. — Jennifer Moss was married only eight months before she began planning her husband’s funeral.

Her husband, Sgt. Keelan L. Moss, was one of the six Fort Sill soldiers killed in Iraq last Sunday when insurgents fired a surface-to-air missile at the CH-47 Chinook helicopter carrying troops to the Baghdad International Airport.

The six Fort Sill soldiers who were killed and the six who where injured were preparing to go on two weeks’ leave.

Moss, described as happy, was coming home to have Thanksgiving with his family.

“He was always very positive. He was looking forward to seeing his kids,” the Lawton woman said.

Moss leaves behind three children from a previous marriage, Marjani, 8; Dakari, 7; and Keelan Daniel, 4.

Jennifer Moss last spoke to her husband early Friday morning and said he was eager “just to have an early Thanksgiving with all of his friends and family.”

His family has planned to come to Lawton to see Moss while he was on leave.

“His family was his first priority,” Jennifer Moss said.

The family plans to bury Moss in a military cemetery near his birthplace of Little Rock, Ark.

Moss, 23, entered the service July 22, 1998, and went through basic training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill.

He was assigned to B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 5th Field Artillery and was a member of a cannon crew.

Sunday was the deadliest day of the war in Iraq for Fort Sill. So far the post has lost 17 soldiers in the conflict.

Flags will fly at half-mast through Friday in honor of the soldiers who lost their lives, those who are still serving and their families, said Lawton-Fort Sill Mayor Cecil Powell.

About 17,000 soldiers are stationed at the southwestern Oklahoma Army post.