"Well, Mama, whatever the Lord has in store for me, I'm ready for it."

Sylvia Clofer
Recalling the words of her daughter, Sgt. Maj. Barbaralien Banks

Soldier killed in crash
in Afghanistan
hailed as a leader

Sylvia Clofer had two daughters serving in Afghanistan and Kuwait.

When two Army officers and a chaplain arrived at her home in Harvey, La., on Thursday, she knew she was in store for bad news.

Clofer had talked with her oldest daughter, 25th Infantry Division Sgt. Maj. Barbaralien Banks, the day before as she was about to board a CH-47 Chinook helicopter for a flight across Afghanistan, Clofer told the Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

"'Well, Mama, whatever the Lord has in store for me, I'm ready for it,'" Clofer recalled her daughter telling her, according to reports by the Associated Press and the newspaper.

Banks, 41, was one of two Schofield Barracks soldiers killed last week and remembered yesterday by her fellow soldiers in memorial services in Afghanistan. They were hailed as leaders who were always willing to solve problems.

A private prayer and remembrance service will be held Friday afternoon at Schofield Barracks' main chapel.

The Chinook went down in bad weather, killing 15 U.S. service members and three civilian contractors in the largest single loss of U.S. life in Afghanistan since 2001.

Besides Banks, 25th Division soldier Master Sgt. Edwin A. Matoscolon died in the crash near Ghazni, about 100 miles southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan's capital.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, the military said, but the helicopter went down in "severe weather."

The Pentagon so far has acknowledged that Banks was on the helicopter, but listed her as missing until a positive identification can be made.

Banks' sister is Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Cassandra Jeanpierre, who is in Kuwait serving with the New Orleans-based 377th Theater Support Command. She is on her second tour in Kuwait and her mother hopes Jeanpierre does not have to return there after her sister's funeral.

"I couldn't take losing another," Clofer said.

Banks had planned to return to Schofield Barracks in June and then attend an Army school in Texas.

Banks enlisted in the Army in 1988. She is the mother of two grown children and a grandmother of three.

She deployed to Afghanistan in June and was recently promoted to sergeant major. Through online correspondence courses, Banks earned two college degrees, in business management and computer science.

25th Infantry Division

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