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Sgt Isiah J. Sinclair
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Birth: Apr. 19, 1973
Natchitoches Parish
Louisiana, USA
Death: Mar. 26, 2005
Baghdad, Iraq


NATCHITOCHES -- A charred helmet, two sad dog tags and a curled sliver of razor-sharp metal are souvenirs of Iraq for combat veteran Jonathan Meziere.
At Fort Irwin in September, he was a joke-cracking man with sad eyes topping a wistful smile, a Cajun accent and enough Tony Chachere's seasoning to gag Emeril Lagasse.
Now the staff sergeant from this city's Alpha/108th Cavalry Troop, part of Shreveport's 1/156th Armor Battalion, has two Purple Heart medals and memories that keep him awake nights, though his thoughts still are with buddies half a world away.
"It's really difficult to not be over there and my guys are still over there," he said while sitting in his tiny office at the Natchitoches Armory, where a small air conditioner labored against heat that pales against the 110 degrees in the shade of Baghdad. "My wife doesn't like it, but it's like, 'Baby, I should be back over there.'"
His first brush with death was March 26, when a suicide car bomber targeted the Humvee that Meziere shared with three other soldiers near a checkpoint. Sgt. Broderick Mosley of Shreveport was injured with Meziere. Sgt. Isiah J. Sinclair, 31, of Crowley and Sgt. Lee Godbolt, 23, of New Orleans were killed.
"I suffered first-, second-, third-degree burns on my hand and face, but most of it has cleared up," he said, showing the affected areas.
You can only see the scars where my military glasses were. The bridge on the nose melted in."
The quantity of explosive in the vehicle led Meziere to believe that he and his soldiers were a secondary target the bomber chose when he arrived at the gate only to find it closed. The explosion "disintegrated the vehicle. The only thing left was the engine block, and what was left of (the bomber)."
Meziere remembers looking up and wondering what the driver was doing "when I felt that ... intense heat ..."
On June 25, almost three months to the day later and after a two-week visit home, he got shot. It was in the same Baghdad neighborhood where, just a few weeks earlier, Australian hostage Douglas Wood was rescued by other members of the 1/156th Armor Battalion.
"I was madder when I got shot," Meziere recalls. "It was like 'Goddogit, they got me again!'"
Meziere says an explosion is worse than being shot. "I can see stuff on TV now and you know, I can just feel it. Being blown up was horrific; but being shot, it made me mad."
Meziere was treated at the scene by his platoon medic, Staff Sgt. Joseph Kershaw, and another from the 1088th. The two medics loaded him in the ambulance and sped him to the hospital in the Green Zone.
After his first surgeries and bullet fragment removals, a succession of brigade and battalion leaders visited him, ending with Brig. Gen. John Basilica, who pinned his second Purple Heart to his bedsheet.
Even then, Meziere was joking, trying to boost their spirits.
"They said they were gonna put an IV in me. I said 'No thank you. I'm paranoid of needles.' I was more scared of that needle than I was of the bullet wound or anything else."
Meziere said he always has tried to look at the positive in life. "Being able to talk about it, being able to breathe" give him that outlook.
The 34-year-old has roots in the Melrose and Cloutierville areas. He joined the Navy right out of high school in 1988. After Desert Storm, Meziere returned home and, at his brother Rodney's urging, switched to the Army, first the reserve, finally the National Guard.
Married just more than a year, he and wife Josephine together are the parents of nine children. He's the youngest of seven children, and his parents still are alive. Family is important, and he's more aware of that since coming home.
"They, the everyday people, have it bad over there," Meziere said. "I loved the children. The first thing out of their mouths is 'Mister, Mister, chocolate-ay,' and they're going through your uniform trying to get whatever they can."
Morale among the Louisiana soldiers "is really good now because they know they have less than 50 days before they come home."
Meziere has heard dates the soldiers are supposed to leave Iraq.
"As usual, there's a combination of secret facts and rampant speculation all clouded by the fact that nothing is set in stone yet," said Capt. Lance Magee, a former Shreveporter who is the personnel officer with the 1/156th Armor Battalion. "I can confirm that we will rotate out in September, but the dates of troop movements in and out of Baghdad is secret."
Meziere knows firsthand the transition home isn't always easy.
"It's taking a lot of getting used to, being back home. And knowing that I don't have to go back. I constantly think about the stuff that I've seen."


Warriors Walk Memorial
Liberty County
Georgia, USA
Created by: Zandalee
Record added: Aug 11, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 15296386
Sgt Isiah J. Sinclair
Added by: Zandalee
Sgt Isiah J. Sinclair
Added by: Zandalee
Sgt Isiah J. Sinclair
Added by: Zandalee
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