|01-11-2006, 10:47 AM||#1 (permalink)|
U.S. Marine ( FAST )
Join Date: Sep 2004
Soldier with 101st killed in Iraq
12:08 PM EST on Wednesday, January 11, 2006
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) -- Cindy Upchurch had just put the care package full of cookies and candy in the mail when she heard the terrible news—her soldier son would never be able to open it.
The Army announced Tuesday that Spc. Clinton R. Upchurch, 31, of Garden City, was killed Saturday near the predominantly Sunni Arab town of Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad. He was the gunner on one of three Humvees that were escorting higher-ranked officials.
Upchurch was a military policeman assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, the Army said Wednesday. The Army had listed him with a different unit in its original statement on Tuesday.
He is the 22nd Kansan to die in the war in Iraq.
“(The Army representatives) said he died a hero, that he saved his guys,” Cindy Upchurch said. “Knowing Clint, I’m not surprised he died defending them. He did his mission. That’s just the kind of guy he was.”
It was the end, Upchurch said, of her son’s lifelong dream. She had tried to talk him out of the service but couldn’t, maybe because it was in his blood. His father served in Vietnam; his grandfather and great-grandfather were veterans too.
“It’s been something he and I have been fighting about since he was 17,” she said. “But I knew he would enlist, and I knew he was doing something he wanted to do. He loved the service and defending his country.”
The soldier was killed when a roadside bomb detonated near his Humvee and enemy forces fired on him. He joined the Army in August 2004 and was assigned to Fort Campbell, Ky., last March. Before that, he worked for the Finney County Sheriff’s Office.
“As a mom, you know there’s danger involved. But to me, he wasn’t in any more danger over there than here,” Upchurch said.
Now, Upchurch waits for the body to arrive home and for her youngest son—husband of Kari, stepfather and foster father, high school football player, Christian and fourth-generation Garden City resident—to be laid to rest.
He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There will be memorial services at Fort Campbell and in Garden City.
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius urged the state to pray for Upchurch’s family and friends.
“He has made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country, and he will not be forgotten,” she said.
U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., whose 1st District includes Garden City, praised Upchurch for his sacrifice for his country.
The slain soldier had sent his mother an e-mail at 12:36 p.m. Friday.
“Hi. I love you. Are you there?” he asked.
She wasn’t. She had gone to lunch. And she would never hear from him again.
|101st, iraq, killed, soldier|
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