He answered the call to duty, but lost his life protecting the freedoms of others. Gunnar Becker was killed in Iraq a week before his 20th birthday. Friday, nearly three weeks after that tragic day, the soldier's mom talks with KELO News.
Debey Senska says, "I don't think there's a person that ever met Gunnar that ever forgot Gunnar."
Even when he was young, Gunnar Becker had a desire to always have fun and a passion for cars. Senska says, "Gunnar's goal was always to drive from forever, you know? Gotta drive. 'Can I be the driver?'."
So, it didn't surprise his mom when the soldier chose what job he wanted in the Army.
Debey says, "I said, 'So what did you decide to do in, when you get in the Army? Did you decide today or are you still thinking?' 'Nope,' he said, 'I'm going to drive a tank, what do you think of that?' And I said, 'I could expect nothing less'. I always thought he would be safer in the tank than anywhere else."
Senska talked with Gunnar on the phone and through email quite often, sometimes hearing things she would rather not. "He said, 'On Christmas Eve, we got really close, I got really close, we came really close to dying tonight mom.'"
Senska says she's proud of her son and and his heroic work. She will always remember his kind heart and giving nature.
She says, "He called from Germany and they were flying to Kuwait in just a couple of hours, he said, 'Mom, there's a letter coming in the mail.' I said, 'Yeah?' 'It's pretty important Mom.' I said, 'What is it?' He said, 'It's my power of attorney, you know?' I said, 'Gunnar I know what that's about.' He said, 'There's just one more thing mom, don't forget, I want to be an organ donor.' And there was no way I could say, 'Gunnar that's pretty tough to do in a war zone.' But I hope that the people that know Gunnar will think about that and maybe do that for Gunnar. It's the one thing he wanted to do with his life that he couldn't."
Senska says her son took his Forestburg, South Dakota carefree attitude to Iraq with him and had as much fun there as he could. Becker was killed on January 13th and laid to rest on January 22nd.
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