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Army Cpl. Joshua H. Reeves

Died September 22, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


26, of Watkinsville, Ga.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Sept. 22 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Watkinsville, Ga., soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. — The Defense Department has confirmed the combat death of a soldier one day after his wife gave birth to their son in Tennessee

Spc. Joshua Reeves, 22, died Sept. 22 when an improvised bomb exploded as the Humvee he was in traveled a street in Baghdad.

His wife, Leslie Reeves, had returned to her native Hendersonville to be with her parents while she had the baby. She gave birth Sept. 21 and named her son Joshua Jackson Reeves.

The soldier’s parents also were told Sept. 22 of the death of the oldest of their five children. James and Jean Reeves live in Watkinsville, Ga., about 60 miles east of Atlanta.

The family said Joshua Reeves was scheduled to come home on two weeks’ leave in November.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, part of the 1st Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade. The brigade has been in Iraq since February, part of the surge of 30,000 soldiers aimed at ending violence in Baghdad.

He entered the Army in February 2005 and arrived at Fort Riley in July of 2005. This was his first deployment to Iraq.


Slain Georgia soldier receives posthumous promotion to corporal

The Associated Press

ATHENS, Ga. — The soldier who was killed in Iraq the day after his wife gave birth to their son received a posthumous promotion to corporal.

Cpl. Joshua Reeves, of Watkinsville, Ga., was killed Sept. 22 when an improvised bomb exploded near the 26-year-old’s Humvee while he was on patrol in Baghdad. His wife, Leslie, gave birth Sept. 21 to their son in Tennessee.

Army officials presented Reeves’ parents with their son’s Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals Sept. 29 at Evergreen Memorial Park in Athens, Ga. His posthumous promotion was in recognition of his service, which one of the officers said was “an example of what all American soldiers should strive to achieve.”

Speakers at his crowded funeral service remembered him as adventurous and funny but also a good listener. Reeves, an Eagle Scout, joined the Army because he wanted to fly helicopters.

One of the last photos Reeves sent home to his parents showed him and fellow soldiers with new friends, sharing a meal with an Iraqi family that had invited them to their home. Reeves’ family previously said he was scheduled to come home on two weeks’ leave in November.

Reeves was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, part of the 1st Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade. The brigade has been in Iraq since February, part of the surge of 30,000 soldiers aimed at ending violence in Baghdad.

“He was the least selfish person I had ever met,” his wife Leslie wrote in a statement that was read at the service. “He never judged others. He accepted people as they were and where they were and never talked bad about anyone. He was a strong and courageous man and helped me to become stronger than I ever thought I could be.”


Day after son is born, father dies in Baghdad

By Leon Alligood

The Tennessean

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. — Joshua Jackson Reeves, four days old, slept undisturbed in his mother’s arms, blissfully unaware of war, or a city called Baghdad, or his mother’s shattered heart.

Leslie Reeves, gently traced her baby’s chin, a miniature version of another’s chin, and smiled through wet eyes.

On Sept. 21, Reeves delivered her 7-pound, 14-ounce boy into this world without complications. Soon afterward she phoned Iraq to deliver the happy news. There, Spc. Joshua H. Reeves, her soldier-husband of two years, was stationed with troops from Fort Riley, Kan.

He was due to come home in November for two weeks of vacation from war.

One day’s joy turned to sorrow Sept. 22 when a bomb detonated as Joshua Reeves’ Humvee drove down a Baghdad street. Leslie Reeves, a Hendersonville native who had returned to be with her parents while she delivered, was still in the hospital with her new baby when she learned she was a widow.

Meanwhile, in Watkinsville, Ga., about 60 miles east of Atlanta, James and Jean Reeves also learned Sept. 22 they had lost the oldest of their five children.

“It hurts so terribly. You just can’t know how bad it hurts,” said James Reeves, an eighth-grade teacher.

Three years ago when their son told them he was going to join the Army, the Reeves were not surprised.

“He wanted to fly helicopters, that was his dream,” said James Reeves. “He went to an aviation school after high school but he decided that joining the Army would get him to that point quicker.”

He would likely have gotten there, too.

“He was always determined, in everything,” his father added.

“He was such a good-hearted person. Everybody loved him,” Jean Reeves said.

Jean Reeves talked to her son last week by phone. Sometimes, she said, he confided to her that he sometimes had trouble sleeping and worried about roadside bombs, the ubiquitous weapons of this war.

“But even so, he was real committed. He had just re-enlisted for six years. He supported his country. He supported the Army. He supported his President. He cared about the Iraqi people,” she said.

The couple was in Hendersonville on Sept. 24, two days after their son died. James Reeves nodded to the screen of a laptop computer. “Let me show you this,” he said.

His fingers clicked the keys, opening files until he found the photo he searched for. Another click magnified the image. Joshua sat cross-legged on the floor of an Iraqi house, a guest for a Ramadan meal. He looked at the camera with a quizzical smile as he held something to eat in his fingers. The specialist appeared to be at ease, among trusted companions.

“Isn’t that just absolutely the greatest shot?” James said, chin on his neck, tears flowing unchecked, shoulders bobbing from the sobs.

“We got this last Wednesday.”

Now the photo becomes his son’s parting image.

In the next room, Leslie Reeves held her sleeping son close.

“He got to hear him cry over the phone and said ‘Hi’ to him,” the new mother recalled.

A short time after the birth, the specialist, 26, also received photos of his son via the Internet.

His boy.

“I just wanted him to have seen his son,” the mother said.

“That was comforting to me.”

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