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Honor her memory: Death of Texarkana soldier a sad reminder of reality

By Texarkana Gazette
Jan. 26, 2011 at 7 p.m.


When American men and women in uniform go overseas to combat zones, there is always the certainty some will not come back

But no one is really prepared when the worst actually happens.

So it was for the family and friends of Sgt. Zainah Caye Creamer of Texarkana, Texas.

Creamer, 28, a dog handler assigned to the 212th Military Police Detachment based in Fort Belvoir, Va., died a hero's death Jan. 12 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked her unit with an improvised explosive device.

She was the only member of her unit killed.

Don Carr, a Fort Belvoir spokesman, told The Washington Post that Creamer checked buildings and vehicles for explosives with the help of her working dog, Jofa. The pair were doing just that when their unit was attacked.

The Afghanistan assignment was her first as a dog handler - something she loved doing and had been training for since last year.

It's always a shock - a tragedy - when we hear of the combat death of a service member from our area. And we will leave ourselves open to a charge of sexism when we admit it is even more shocking when the fallen soldier is a young woman.

It's not fair to the men who die in battle, we admit, but the combat death of a female soldier is still rare. No doubt such deaths will become more and more common as our military moves beyond traditional gender roles.

Creamer was a 2000 graduate of Arkansas High School. She loved animals, hunting and fishing and enjoyed practicing taekwondo. She had been in the Army for about six years and had already seen duty in Iraq when, after a brief return to the United States, she was sent to Afghanistan in October.

We hope you honor the memory of Sgt. Creamer - and all the other brave men and women - who have given their lives in the service of this nation.

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