Sunday, September 02, 2007

Josh Morley remembered by comrade

A soldier from Carthage died in Iraq Sunday.

Sgt. Joshua L. Morley, 22, was the son of a 23-year Army veteran, Joe Morley, who lives in Carthage. He was born in Hendersonville, where his grandparents still live. He grew up in the Army, moving as his father's assignments took the family from place to place.

Morley enlisted three years ago and was serving with 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. He was a sniper and team leader of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

On Sunday, some 30 masked men attacked his unit in Samarra, Iraq, using small arms fire and hand grenades. Morley died from injuries sustained during the firefight, which ended when a U.S. jet bombed a house where the attackers had taken refuge, according to reports.

A dozen insurgents died, and 14 were captured, the Army said.

"It was truly both an honor and a privilege to have served with Sgt. Joshua Morley," said Capt. Carlos Morales, his company commander, in a release from Fort Bragg. "He was a fearless paratrooper who epitomized the highest forms of bravery, dedication to duty, and selfless service on a daily basis.

"Sgt. Morley was a dedicated NCO (noncommissioned officer) that was totally committed to his duties as a Sniper Team Leader and always represented the ideals which make our nation great."

Morley enlisted in the Army in January 2004, in Boise, Idaho. He completed Infantry One Station Unit Training and the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Ga., in July, 2004. He then joined the 82nd Airborne and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion of the 505th as a rifleman, where he distinguished himself by his courage under fire, the Army said.

"During the last 12 months, he risked his life while participating in hundreds of combat operations with his Sniper Team against insurgent forces within the city of Samarra," Morales said. "His moral character, stalwart leadership, and aggressive spirit will always be remembered. His sacrifice will never be forgotten."

Morley's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman's Badge and the Parachutist's Badge.

Morley is survived by his wife, Kendra Morley; his daughter Alexis Morley -- born in April while he was deployed -- both of Albertson, N.C.; his mother, Sara Morley of Cary; and his father, Joseph Morley of Carthage, N.C.

The unit will hold a memorial service in Iraq.

From the Pilot

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Josh Morley remembered

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Josh Morley reported killed in Iraq