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Sgt. 1st Class Mark DWayne Jenkins: A small tribute for a soldier I will miss 
By Col. Donald P. Laucirica, Theater Special Operations Detachment-Korea Commander 
Jenkins and Laucirica 

(Left to right) Darlene Jenkins, Col. Donald P. Laucirica and then Staff Sgt. Mark Jenkins share a smile during the Colordao Military Ball, March 31, 2012 in Westminster, Colo. (Photo provided by Col. Donald P. Laucirica/Used with permission)

I first got to know Sergeant Jenkins when, as the new Special Operations Detachment commander, we conducted a commander’s inventory, required as part of taking command.

He was outgoing, loud, and entirely unconcerned about what impression he was making on me, the incoming commander.

I didn't know what to think, considering that I was signing the security of the unit’s most sensitive item to a sergeant who didn't seem to have a care in the world. I asked his supervisor about him, but he assured me that it was just Mark being Mark, and I had nothing to worry about. And in fact, that was very true, Mark was entirely trustworthy -- notwithstanding that he was also a “character.”

Over the next two years, I got to know Mark as well as any Soldier I worked with. I came to know him as a fine administrative and logistics noncommissioned officer, a husband to Darlene, and father to two daughters, Zhane and Meagan. Mark was a man of faith, love and laughter -- not a bad combination, considering his struggle with cancer that would ultimately take his life.

Mark did not wear his affliction on his sleeve. I came to know about his cancer, a form of leukemia, when he requested leave for his treatments and as Mark detailed his plan to set up a Bone Marrow DNA donor list -- program that he hope would help others, if not in time to help him.

I have lots of fond memories of Mark -- too many to tell. I can, with little tribulation, clearly state that for all my tangible success, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Jenkins was a better man than me. For all my education, Mark truly understood the meaning and lived a life of selfless service to the Soldiers of the Colorado Guard. He loved his family unconditionally. He was defender and patriot of his state and country. Mark was successful in life, he was a “first-time GO at this station” -- no small tribute for a man who will be missed by me all those who were fortunate to have known him.