Guardsman Daniel Suplee dies of accident injuries

Former Md. resident was with infantry unit in Afghanistan


A longtime Maryland resident who had been serving with a Florida National Guard unit died this week of injuries sustained in Afghanistan.

Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Suplee, 39, who grew up in Anne Arundel County and later lived in the Reisterstown area, suffered a head injury in a collision between a Humvee and a larger military vehicle April 3, a military spokesman said.

Sergeant Suplee, who was partially paralyzed in the accident, was transferred to Walter Reed Medical Center in early April for treatment, and in May was transferred to a veterans hospital in the Tampa, Fla., area, said Jon Myatt, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Military Affairs.

Sergeant Suplee's death Thursday was caused by a brain infection, Mr. Myatt said.

Sergeant Suplee, who grew up in Arnold, was a 1984 graduate of Broadneck High School. He joined the Maryland National Guard after high school, relatives said.

As a civilian, he had worked as a customs and immigration analyst for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and lived in Reisterstown for many years.

James Nugent of Sykesville, who had served with Sergeant Suplee in the Maryland National Guard for more than a decade, said Sergeant Suplee was frequently given difficult assignments because he was good at solving problems.

"He could lighten a situation without making light of it," said Mr. Nugent. "He would always step up to a challenge."

Sergeant Suplee's wife, Bernadine, said they had moved to Florida in 2004 because they planned to retire there.

"He was my soul mate, my best friend. I will never meet anyone like him. People couldn't understand the closeness that we have - or had," she said, adding that friends would always ask why she wouldn't go anywhere without him by her side.

Sergeant Suplee transferred to the Florida National Guard shortly after their move. After only a few months in Florida, his guard unit was deployed in July 2005 to Afghanistan for a one-year tour of duty, Mr. Myatt said.

Sergeant Suplee was part of a task force assigned to train the Afghan National Army. He was part of the 116th Field Artillery, 2nd Battalion and had served as an infantry platoon sergeant, according to Mr. Myatt.

Sergeant Suplee was a veteran of the first Gulf War, his family said.

Mary Suplee, 79, described her son - one of seven children - as a man of many talents and interests who had loved the military since he was a child. She said he took part in Revolutionary War re-enactments as a teenager and had dreams of becoming a military historian.

"Danny was a walking encyclopedia of the American Revolution," Mrs. Suplee said, adding that he had "a tremendous love for the military and his country."

"He had such a severe head injury he would never have been Danny again," his mother said. "And he will always be Danny to me - my Danny Boy."

Sergeant Suplee was married in 2001 at Camp Fretterd in Reisterstown wearing his dress blues, said Mr. Nugent, who was Sergeant Suplee's best man.

Bernadine Suplee said her husband enjoyed fishing, camping, and carpentry. The couple regularly played the military video game "Medal of Honor," she said.

The couple have five children, ranging in age from 13 to 32.

"They were two of the greatest people - all they think about is other people. That's the kind of guy he was," said Leon Kohler, who worked with Bernadine Suplee on a program through an American Legion post in Lakeland, Fla. to send care packages to soldiers overseas.

Although Sergeant Suplee had been stationed in Afghanistan for nearly a year when he was injured, Mr. Kohler said they had talked several times for several hours.

"His goal was to come home and take care of his wife and children," said Mr. Kohler.

Services are to be held Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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