SSG Derek M. Francis

8 March 1982 - 5 June 2008 

2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, Echo Company

Staff Sergeant Derek M. Francis was born on 8 March 1982 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. On 4 February 2000, he enlisted in the United States Army. He completed Basic Training in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Lee, Virginia, in September of 2000.

Upon graduation, he was assigned to HHC, 1st Battalion, 12th Armor Regiment in Ft. Hood, Texas. In March of 2003 he was assigned to 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment with 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. On 19 October 2005 he reported to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division and was assigned to Echo Company. SSG Francis participated in numerous training exercises at the National Training Center (NTC), Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), and Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA). In March of 2003, he deployed with 2nd Brigade in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving with the Cacti Battalion in Kirkuk, Iraq. While in Echo Company, he served as Senior First Cook for the Battalion. He held positions as Ration Section NCOIC and the Administration section NCOIC in the 3rd Brigade “Bronco” Dining Facility.

SSG Francis had just left the Cacti Battalion and was on his way to attend Warrant Officer School, where he was to specialize in Food Service. He was admired and looked up to by his Soldiers for his drive and determination. They knew him to be someone who always found time to take care of their needs. They loved and admired him for his genuine interest in their well-being, along with his unrelenting determination to succeed. They saw that he was a go-getter, letting nothing stand in his way. While mapping out his own career, he always encouraged, challenged, and assisted his Soldiers to reach for more. SSG Francis’s contributions to Echo Company shall always be remembered by all. Because of his smooth demeanor and his way of doing things, he was given the name “Breeze” by his Soldiers and peers. When taking care of business for someone, he would always say, “I got you!” He truly will be missed.

SSG Francis’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), the Army Achievement Medal (3 OLC), the Army Good Conduct Medal (1 OLC), the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge, and the 25th ID Combat Patch.

He is survived by his mother and stepfather, Joan and Leroy Herman; his father, Elroy Francis; and his 7 year-old daughter, Sha’nya Francis.