Colonel remembers Sgt. 1st Class Coater Debose

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Pine Belt continues to mourn a fallen soldier. Sergeant First Class Coater Debose, of State Line, died Sunday from wounds suffered from small arms fire during a security force assistance operation in Afghanistan . Debose was a communications specialist who deployed last April to help train Afghan police around Kandahar.

Officials say Sgt. 1st Class Debose trained at Camp Shelby. Debose was a member of the 158th Infantry Brigade, his commander, Colonel Christopher Forbes took time out Tuesday to express condolences and fond memories of Debose.

"Coater was very well known in the brigade, throughout the brigade. He was 55-years-old, and he was probably the most fit soldiers we've had. Absolute, just a great physically fit example for even our younger soldiers. They all looked up to him, and he was never afraid to go out of his way and mentor them. So, he is really a special guy. They all are, but Coater is extremely special," said Col.. Forbes.

Funeral arrangements are pending and the incident is under investigation. According to the Department of Defense 1,972 American solders have died in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.