23, of Warner Robins, Ga.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat
Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Aug. 5 in Sangsar, Afghanistan, of injuries
sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket-propelled grenade.
"He always did what was best for others’
The Associated Press
WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Mourners packed a church here Aug. 13 as a 23-year-old soldier killed in
Afghanistan was mourned and remembered by family and friends in his hometown.
More than 200 people attended the funeral service for Army Spc. Mark J. Downer, a combat medic
who died Aug. 5 in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Kandahar province.
“He always did what was best for others,” Downer’s aunt, Sandra Downer, said during the service.
“The profession he chose — to be a medic — was a dangerous one, and he’s a very intelligent young
man, so he knew the danger that would befall him, but he did it anyway. He strived to do his best.”
Downer joined the Army in 2009, according to the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph. He was assigned to the
10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
People lined the streets a day before the funeral as police escorted the hearse carrying Downer’s
casket after it arrived in Warner Robins.
During the funeral, the soldier’s father, Garfield Downer, was presented with two medals — the
Purple Heart and Bronze Star — awarded to his fallen son.
Family and friends remembered Downer as quiet. He graduated in 2005 from Northside High School,
where he played football and ran track.
A former classmate, Courtney Chaplin, described Downer as funny, loving and selfless.
Spc. Mark J. Downer
United States Army
KIA o5 August 2011
This Memorial Page Established by - Geraldine Downer
My son, you will forever be in our hearts, your family misses you so much. You meant the
world to us. On August 5, 2011 the day God called you home, when you left you took a part of
me with you. I'm grateful to have such precious memories of you. Not a day goes by that I
don't think about you, if heaven had visiting hours I would be the 1st in line waiting to see my
beloved son, so until then I will see you later.
FOREVER IN MY HEART