Several hundred people gathered to honor a fallen Stryker soldier Tuesday morning at the North Fort Chapel at Fort Lewis.
Spc. Joseph Michael Lewis, 26, died Nov. 17 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when a bomb struck his vehicle. He was a cavalry scout and Stryker driver with 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
The service was simple: piano, prayer, speeches. A picture of Lewis, smiling slightly, in uniform, was projected on the front wall.
Lt. Col. William Clark praised Lewis as an intelligent, outspoken soldier committed to his platoon. “He understood that as a cavalry man, you have to keep moving forward; as a cavalry man, you have to saddle up,” Clark told the assembled crowd.
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Raised in Terrell, Texas, Lewis enlisted in the Army in 2005 at Fort Knox, Ky. He served a yearlong tour in South Korea. He arrived at Fort Lewis in February 2007 and was serving with the brigade’s 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment when he was killed.
“As an Army scout … his responsibilities were enormous,” Clark said. “Lewis stood up to make a difference.”
Sgt. Dan Hawkins, in a speech read by Sgt. Ray Winters, said he admired his friend’s determination and perseverance. “His drive was uncanny,” Hawkins wrote, describing Lewis as a family man thrilled by the birth of his daughter.
There was also a sly sense of hometown pride. “He used to joke that he and Jamie Foxx were the only people to hail from Terrell, Texas.”
Lewis is survived by his wife, Teresa; his daughter, Abi; his sister, Amanda; his mother, Pamela; and his father, Michael. The memorial pamphlet said Lewis enjoyed “staying in shape, playing video games, building miniatures, watching ‘Family Guy’ and ‘South Park,’ and spending every spare moment with his love and new wife Teresa.”
After the ceremony, his parents stood outside the chapel, holding each other for support.
“Joey was full of life – he was a loving father,” Michael Lewis said. “We’re very proud.”
Pamela Lewis added: “We’re very proud of all the soldiers there and we pray for them all the time.”
Joyce Chen: 253-597-8426