Pfc Shane M. Reifert

Pfc Shane M. Reifert
Shane during a sweep of the Shuryak Valley, approximately 3 weeks before he was killed. Photo Credit: PFC Sean Stromback

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Kill Those Noobs!!" -- Shane Reifert

Before Shane joined the Army, he was very much a gamer. I can't count the number of times when we were both living at home that I would yell at him to keep it down as he laughed and screamed with his gaming buddies. Now I would do anything to hear him laughing in the backroom into the wee hours of the morning. Shane's gaming life was very much his own. He never met the men he gamed with but I knew that they had strong friendships with one another. I've contacted/been contacted by a number of his gaming friends, who all tell me how much Shane meant to them and how, even though they had never met, they considered Shane a friend and were deeply saddened by his death. I asked one of his friends, "Ody," to write something up on Shane and his time gaming. I displayed this, along with Shane's controller, headset, and some games, at the funeral home. This was a part of Shane's life that I was not a part of, so it was very comforting for me to hear Ody describe a part of Shane that I never knew:

I first met Shane, or "Swan" as we knew him, in the fall of 2005 while we were members of a large Call of Duty 2 clan called Gunners of War (GoW). We gamed together in that clan for a very short time, a few months at the most, but that is where a small group of guys (including Snipe, 2pies, Creeper, Kermit, and Hawk) were introduced to each other .  While all of our friendships started in that clan and it was a good time, it didn't fit what we saw as the ideal gaming experience. GoW was a large clan with over 100 members.  I think we were all looking for a more intimate gaming experience, a couple guys in a voice chat server, shooting the shit while playing and just screwing  around while still being competitive in leagues. We decided that a small group of us that played together more often than the rest was gonna leave and start our own clan later named  "Banana Police". By the way, Shane was a big advocate for that name... He loved it :)

Through many hours over many years of gaming together regardless of age differences of up to 10-15 years apart, we all had the games in common. People had their real life stuff from graduating high school and/or college, buying a house, having babies, getting married or even learning to drive a car for a couple younger guys!! Yet most nights we all ended our days playing a game together, laughing, shooting the shit, being jackasses, going into servers with douchebag admins who had goofy, strict rules  and seeing who could get kicked or banned first :) Shane was a pro at that, he knew how to get people going :)

People that have never gamed online with others may not be sympathetic about it because they can't understand, I have lost a real friend. Even though we never have met face to face, we knew a lot about each other. Together, us guys weren't just playing video games. We we talking about life.... stress, jobs, books, music, movies,our goals, our families, girls etc. It's like another family, things aren't always perfect but in the end we're all still there for each other. We got to know each other better than I know some of my friends that I see all the time.  Shane was a great friend and an incredible human being. He sacrificed his life so the rest of us could safely do the dumb shit we do everyday. I am honored to have known him and I am truly grateful for what he has done. He will never be forgotten. RIP SWaN