- 24 years old
- Date of birth: Sep 15, 1979
- Date of passing: Sep 29, 2003
|Let the memory of Sgt Darrin be with us forever|
24, of Louisville, Ky.; assigned to the 223rd Military Police Company, Army National Guard, Louisville, Ky.; killed Sept. 29 when his vehicle left a road and went into a canal during a mission to search an area near Abu Ghraib Prison, outside Baghdad, Iraq.
Family, friends mourn guardsman killed in Iraq
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bagpipes and a solemn drumbeat rang through Southeast Christian Church as family, friends and comrades gathered Oct 8 to remember the first Kentucky Army National Guardsman to die in combat since Vietnam.
Sgt. Darrin K. Potter, 24, was “a very compassionate, loving, selfless person who always had a calm demeanor,” Mike Koenig, a friend and Louisville police officer, said during the funeral.
One by one, military and police officers stood before Potter’s casket and bade him farewell with slow salutes after the service that drew about 300 mourners.
Potter wanted to be a police officer — his dream since high school — when he was deployed with the 223rd Military Police Company to Iraq.
He served as a peacekeeper in Bosnia with the 223rd in December 2000. Potter’s deployment to Iraq was to have been his last before returning with hopes of re-entering the police force.
Potter died Sept. 29 when his military vehicle overturned and was submerged in a canal in Baghdad. He was in a four-vehicle convoy on patrol. A Humvee carrying Potter and other soldiers failed to make a turn and plunged into the canal while responding to a mortar attack by Iraqi insurgents.
Sgt. Matthew Staples said Potter was more concerned about the safety of his comrades than about himself.
“When his vehicle rolled into the canal, he made sure his troops made it out of the vehicle,” said Staples, one of Potter’s closest friends in the unit.
All the occupants got out, and two made it to shallow water, but Potter was swept away by swift currents. A soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division, Sgt. Andrew Baddick of Jim Thorpe, Pa., died trying to rescue Potter.
Potter’s company was supporting elements of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Potter was born in Flemingsburg and grew up in Maysville, Frankfort and finally Louisville. He became interested in sports and the outdoors at an early age. In elementary school, he would clip empty Final Four brackets printed in the newspaper and sell copies to classmates for a quarter a piece, said the Rev. Larry Pope in a eulogy.
Potter had many friends but was especially close to his sister, Anita. Though four years his junior, Anita “was a mother hen to him,” doting over him and trying to pick his girlfriends for him, said Dennis Romans, their uncle.
Potter was buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. He was honored with a 21-gun salute and a flyover by three Black Hawk helicopters.
He is survived by his father, David Potter; his mother, Lynn Romans; and his sister.
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