DRY RIDGE, Ky. (AP) - Friends and family members of a northern Kentucky soldier killed in Iraq paid tribute to him during a memorial service Monday.
Sgt. 1st Class William Zapfe, 35, was riding in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle when it ran over an improvised explosive device in Muhammad al Ali, Iraq, last month. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division based at Fort Stewart, Ga.
Zapfe was born in Covington and joined the Army in 1991, serving the last 12 years at Fort Stewart, working as a combat engineer. He met his wife while stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., where he did tank training. The couple have two sons and a daughter.
"He lived his life to serve others," said Kevin Jackson, a former soldier who served with Zapfe. "He was as selfless a man as I've ever seen. That's why these men wear these uniforms."
Jackson said Zapfe served as a role model both as a soldier and a family man, The Kentucky Enquirer reported.
"His character was impeccable," 1st Sgt. Gary Yeatts said. Ken Strong, Zapfe's uncle, recalled the last conversation he had
with his nephew before his last deployment.
"Before he deployed, we said, 'God we appreciate what you do,"' Strong said. "I'm so glad we did that."
Zapfe was buried next to his father at Hill Crest Cemetery.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)