East Texas Soldier Dies In Car Crash After Surviving Iraq - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/14/06-Whitehouse

East Texas Soldier Dies In Car Crash After Surviving Iraq

An East Texas soldier who earned a purple heart in combat is killed in a car crash. We spoke with Army Specialist Eric Forbis following his return from Iraq in December of 2004. Eric had stepped on a land mine while serving in Iraq and endured months of recovery. The now 24-year-old had returned from combat and was driving to his home near Austin Sunday night when, for a reason no one yet knows, his car ran off a winding road and hit a tree.

Serving in Iraq was not the first battle Eric had fought. When he was just 4-years-old he was diagnosed with Leukemia.

"It was a very hard battle because he had a lot of medical issues and side effects," said Deborah Forbis, Eric's mother. "He was very limited, but he did about two years in chemo and into remission within a month and never had any other problems." After graduating high school Eric decided to go into the military, but getting there wasn't easy.

"Because of his medical background it wasn't like he could just sign the papers and go right in," said Deborah Forbis. "But after 911 he was a little angry, so he went back and fought the battle to get in." Eric served a year in Iraq. While he was there he stepped on a land mine, but that didn't stop Eric from continuing to serve his country.

"He took a lot of shrapnel particular to his foot where they were still working on things on it, but other than that he made a full recovery and made it back into battle," said Deborah Forbis. That's when Eric was honored with the purple heart. When we interviewed him a year ago he had this to say about those he served with.

"You grow attached to these guys and they're brothers," said Specialist Eric Forbis in December 2004. "You work with them everyday and you know their families." Eric's family says they are very proud.

"I would not hesitate to tell anybody that I had a brother in Iraq," said Adam Forbis, Eric's brother. "He earned a purple heart for you and for him and for me."

"I Baghdad he fought hard," said Guy Forbis, Eric's father. "He saved a lot of lives in Baghdad and he came home a hero. At least in his daddy's eyes." In this difficult time, Eric's family says they try not to ask why.

"Right now I don't have an answer for that," said Deborah Forbis. "I'm sure of a few things. I'm sure that he was a born again child of God. I am sure that he is in heaven. I'm sure that I will be with him again and I'm sure all the memories are good ones."

  Eric's family says Eric also had a passion for young people. After the military he planned on attending TCU and becoming a youth pastor.

  Visitation for Eric Forbis will be Thursday night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Stewart Family Funeral Home. That's on Old Jacksonville Highway in Tyler. Services are scheduled for Friday at 1:00 p.m. at Central Baptist Church on New Copeland Road.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

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