‘He could steal your heart’: Family, friends say goodbye to soldier killed by bear in Alaska

Staff Sgt. Seth Plant, 30, remembered as hometown hero

Staff Sgt. Seth Plant was a dedicated soldier, son, friend and nephew. The Jacksonville-born Army paratrooper, who lived in St. Augustine, survived serving in Afghanistan before he was killed May 10 while training with a small group in a remote part of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska. He was attacked by a bear and died from his injuries. Another soldier survived the attack. Plant, a Menendez High School graduate, received full military honors, including a 21-gun salute, during his graveside funeral service Saturday at San Lorenzo Cemetery.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Staff Sgt. Seth Plant was a dedicated soldier, son, friend and nephew.

The Jacksonville-born Army paratrooper, who lived in St. Augustine, survived serving in Afghanistan before he was killed May 10 while training with a small group in a remote part of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.

He was attacked by a bear and died from his injuries. Another soldier survived the attack.

Plant, a Menendez High School graduate, received full military honors, including a 21-gun salute, during his graveside funeral service Saturday at San Lorenzo Cemetery.

Plant’s family said he served the country for 12 years, spending most of the last year in Alaska, and had dreams of becoming a Green Beret.

Those dreams ended for the 30-year-old, but his father, Mike Plant, said his son’s service is eternal.

“You have another soldier in the Army of Heaven. Not only just in the Army of Heaven but he is a soldier for the Lord of Hosts. I’m sure he is telling a few angels to line up,” Mike Plant said during an emotional memorial service Saturday at Anastasia Baptist Church in St. Augustine.

Staff Sgt. Seth Plant's father, Mike Plant, speaks at his memorial service at Anastasia Baptist Church in St. Augustine. (Shared by family)

Seth Plant’s uncles, battling tears, said their nephew was resilient, even after injuries during special forces training.

“The ‘S’ in Seth’s name to me stands for strength. He was so strong, physically, mentally. He pushed through any challenge he ever faced, and he didn’t give up,” one uncle said.

Another uncle, Barry Carlton, described Seth as full of life and energy.

“But he could also steal your heart without you even knowing,” Carlton said.

Seth Plant is admired for knowing what he wanted to do with his life early on, serving in the military. He is respected for his unyielding love for family, friends, and devotion to duty -- even to the end.

“He was doing what he loved,” Carlton said. “He died protecting another soldier. He died fighting for his own life.”


About the Authors:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.