CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — A soldier who was killed while visiting family in Nebraska was remembered by his comrades in arms as a born champion during a memorial Thursday at a chapel on his former base.

Staff Sgt. Kyle LeFlore, who had survived tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was fatally shot while on leave in his hometown of Omaha before heading to a new post as a recruiter in Arizona. He is survived by his wife, Tasha, and 5-year-old son Kyle Jr.

LeFlore’s name rang out three times unanswered during a ceremonial “last roll call” during the memorial at the Freedom Chapel on Camp Humphreys. A volley of gunfire and taps finally punctured the silence.

“Sgt. LeFlore was not weak; he was strong,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Robinson, who served with LeFlore at the 602nd Aviation Support Battalion’s communication shop at the base south of Seoul.

Kyle LeFlore memorial in South Korea

A portrait of Staff Sgt. Kyle LeFlore overlooks his former comrades during a ceremony Thursday at Camp Humphreys, South Korea. More photos of Thursday's memorial at

LeFlore, who joined the Army in 2008, served in South Korea for a year before leaving for the United States in December. He was an avid fan of combat sports who founded the 25th Infantry Division’s combative program in Hawaii and boxed for the All-Army team in Fort Riley, Kansas.

He became the 8th Army combatives champion while serving in South Korea. After watching a few Taekwondo videos, he also won a tournament in the peninsula’s premiere martial art.

LeFlore’s intensity also bled into some lighter moments with his fellow soldiers.

“Every morning he would come into the office and kick the door in and clear the room with a pretend rifle or pistol,” said Sgt. Ryan McChesney. “Then I got the idea to booby-trap the door.”

That only temporarily stopped LeFlore. McChesney laughed, saying the door kicker responded by saying “I must get stronger; I must get better, bigger, faster,” then figured out how to avoid the booby traps during his dramatic entrances.

“I’ve never met anybody with so much confidence — sometimes unrealistic confidence — but he really believed he could do anything he put his mind to,” McChesney said.

Robinson said LeFlore did not keep his strength to himself and his desk became a revolving door of junior soldiers asking how they could become “champions.”

“He had the will, and was willing to help anyone else who wanted to achieve,” Robinson said.

LeFlore was shot on Saturday, just days before he was to leave for Arizona. His father, Kay LeFlore, has said he believes his son was the victim of a robbery.

Republished with permission by Stars and Stripes

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