A former detention officer at the Oklahoma County jail was killed in Iraq when the tank he was riding in ran over a homemade bomb, the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
Army Staff Sgt. Lance Chase, 32, and Pfc. Peter Wagler, 18, of Partridge, Kan., were conducting patrols when the bomb exploded, killing both men, the Department of Defense said.
Both were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood.
"My son truly believed in the mission in Iraq and in helping the Iraqi people," Dana Chase said. "He always felt his heart warmed to know they appreciated what he was doing."
This was Chase's second tour of duty for Operation Iraqi Freedom, family members said. He returned to Iraq beginning in December.
"We're proud of him," said Chase's maternal grandmother, Lillian Haynie. "We'd liked to have kept him, but I guess God seen other things for him."
Chase's military duties were focused on the Abrams tank, Dana Chase pointed out. He taught recruits how to maintain and move it.
"He did it all on that tank," his mother said.
He also was an honored marksman, she said.
Chase leaves behind his wife, Kristen, and two sons, Brett, 11, and Trevor, 9.
"I don't even know where to start," his wife said. "He was just an all-around kind of guy."
A 1991 graduate of Midwest City High School, Chase spent 20 months working for the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office as a detention officer in 1994 and 1995. His father, Mike Chase, is a reserve officer and member of the sheriff's bomb squad.
Information from: Tulsa World
Lance M. Chase's biggest joy in Iraq was seeing local children returning to schools. After his first tour, he got involved in sending books and hygiene items to the Iraqi people.
"It was important to him," said his mother, Dana Chase.
Chase, 32, of Oklahoma City, was killed Jan. 23 by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He was assigned to Fort Hood and was on his second tour.
"He would smile all the time and always had a joke for everyone," said his mother.
He was a 1991 high school graduate, where he played football and was a fan of NASCAR.
"We are devastated as anyone would be," said Capt. Kelly Marshall, of the sheriff's department. "We consider Mike and his family our family."
Relatives and friends bid farewell Thursday to an Oklahoma City soldier who was remembered for his courage and dedication to family.
Mourners filled Meadowood Baptist Church for the funeral of Staff Sgt. Lance Michael Chase, 32.
Music chosen by his relatives highlighted Chase's funeral, from Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," a song about living life to the fullest, to Tommy Shane Steiner's "What If She Is An Angel," a Chase used to sing to his son Trevor, 9.
Those songs were among nine selected for a ceremony that included a uniformed contingent from the military and the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department. Chase's father, Mike, has been a reserve deputy for more than 20 years.
Pastor Bob Rutherford called Chase a hero for his willingness to risk his life for others.
Chase, who had been a soldier for more than a decade, didn't like to be away from his family but was honored to help the people of Iraq, Rutherford said.
After Chase started his second tour of duty, he noted improvements in the country.
"It wasn't just a job for him," Rutherford said. "He said, 'These people need what we're doing.'"
Rutherford said Chase's life was characterized by his love for his family.
Chase visited his grandmother before he left for Iraq just so he could tell her he loved her, the pastor said. He talked to his wife, Kristen, via the Internet before his final patrol.
Rutherford thanked Chase for deciding to join the Army and standing up for others.
"Your life, young man, will always be an inspiration to me," he said.
Information from: The Oklahoman