KIA June 26, 2008
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment (Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target
Acquisition), New York Army National Guard, Jamestown, New York
Army SGT Mark Palmateer died June 26, 2008 of wounds sustained when his convoy encountered improvised explosive devices, small-arms fire, and rocket-propelled grenades near Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan. Also killed were SFC Matthew L. Hilton and SFC Joseph A. McKay.
Stephanie Palmateer turned 20 years old in the wake of her father’s passing and she is determined that the milestone of her young life, the sudden loss of her father, will not be the memory that preoccupies her thoughts. “I’m going to try to think of all the good memories I have of him,” Stephanie said. She said her father was a happy-go-lucky person. “He made the best out of every situation,” she stated. “I think about how much he loved me, loved his family and everybody around him.” Mark also had eight brothers and sisters and many nieces and nephews. He was particularly close with his father, just as Stephanie Palmateer was with her father. “The distance didn’t come into our relationship,” she recalled.
Others remember Mark for his dedication to his family and country. Mark’s sister, Cathy Roule, recalled how her brother had talked for awhile about joining the National Guard, then made a final decision shortly before he enlisted at age 33. “When he told everybody, we were so proud of him,” she said. “He’s my hero.” SGT Patrick Donovan said he and SGT Palmateer became friends in the National Guard in 2004. He was struck by Mark’s decision to join the National Guard as a response to 9/11. “He just wanted to do his part,” SGT Donovan said. “He wasn’t eager to go to war, but he said, ‘If they need me, I’ll go.’” SGT Donovan said he and Mark shared a bond because they were much older than the other recruits. He called Mark’s daughter, Stephanie, “his biggest motivation.” “He was always very proud of her,” he recalled, “He talked about her all the time.”
Posthumously, Mark Palmateer was promoted to Sergeant. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Action Badge.
SGT Mark Palmateer was 38 years old from Poughkeepsie, New York
Original portrait was presented March 15, 2015 to Mark’s family at a private memorial event hosted by the 69th Regiment Armory in New York, New York.