fil-am.g.i.janeSGT. ZAINAH CREAMER

 

A decorated Filipino-American female Army soldier, who once served at a military camp in New York, was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan while she and her trained dog were clearing areas for an air assault mission.

Sgt. Zainah “Caye” Creamer, 28, a trained dog handler in the U.S. Army military police and was a member of a unit that checked buildings and vehicles for explosives, died in Howz E Madad, Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Jan. 12, according to the Pentagon.

The dog was unhurt and was returned to the Army unit.

Creamer, who was based in Fort Belvoir in Virginia, was buried on Feb. 4 with full U.S. military honors at Maria Municipal Cemetery in Siquijor province in the Philippines, where her mother, Carlyn Brown, and stepfather live.

The body arrived in Siquijor on Jan. 31 and was accompanied by Creamer’s aunt, Lutchie Daug Castleman.

A memorial mass was also held at First Presbyterian Church in Texarkana, Arkansas, where her brother George is based and where Creamer went to high school.

U.S. and state flags in Arkansas were flown at half mast in Creamer’s honor, reports said.

Leslie Bassett, chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Manila, and senior American military officers will represent the U.S. Government at the funeral service for Creamer.

“Sgt. Creamer selflessly dedicated her life to the service of others,” Basett said.

“She reminds all of us that the freedoms we enjoy are earned through the sacrifice of our military. We will always be grateful to her, and honor her memory.”

At the memorial ceremony, the U.S. Government will confer on Creamer the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the NATO Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Among the awards and decorations she received during her six years of service include the Iraq Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star; Afghanistan Service Medal with Bronze Service Star; Global War on Terrorism Medal; Combat Action Badge; Expert Rifle Badge; Army Commendation Medal; and the Army Achievement Medal.

Creamer joined the U.S. Army in 2004 and has served at U.S. military camps in New York, Missouri and Texas.

She also served in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Last month, a cousin told The Washington Post that Creamer posted pictures on the Internet of herself and her working dog Jofa, costumed for Christmas, in Afghanistan.

The two had gone to Afghanistan on Oct. 26, 2010.

Creamer went to high school in Texarkana, and “always loved animals,” her cousin Samantha Creamer said on Sunday in an interview.

Other interests included hunting and fishing, the cousin said, as well as the martial art of taekwondo.

She “absolutely loved being in the Army,” the cousin said.

She enjoyed serving, and she “loved her dog she had in the Army.”

Samantha said that her cousin was often “smiling and laughing” and caring for others and that she rarely had a bad word for anybody.

“Everybody that knew her loved her,” the cousin said.

“She touched a lot of people for the short amount of time she was on Earth,” her cousin said.

“That was her personality.”

Don Carr, a spokesman for Fort Belvoir, said Creamer had been a soldier for a little more than six years.

She had been assigned to Belvoir since October 2009 and was in the 212th Military Police Detachment, part of Belvoir’s headquarters battalion, he said.

While in Afghanistan, Creamer worked with the second battalion of the 502nd Infantry Regiment, Carr said, and her Afghanistan assignment was her first as a dog handler.

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