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Air Force Master Sgt. Randy J. Gillespie

Died July 9, 2007 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

44, of Coaldale, Colo.; assigned to the 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.; died July 9 in Herat, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained during small-arms fire outside of Camp Stone.

Colorado airman killed in Afghanistan

The Associated Press

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — A master sergeant assigned to Luke Air Force Base was killed in fighting in Afghanistan, the military announced July 11.

A statement issued by officials at the base west of Phoenix said Master Sgt. Randy J. Gillespie, 44, of Coaldale, Colo., died July 9 from gunshot wounds received in an encounter outside of a forward operating base near Herat.

Gillespie was assigned to the 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Luke, but was on duty in Afghanistan with the 755th Air Expeditionary Group. He was working with a task force assigned to train the Afghan Army.

“Master Sgt. Gillespie will be remembered here as a beloved husband and father, patriot, warrior, friend and proud American who volunteered to serve in his nation’s Air Force,” Brig. Gen. Tom Jones, who commands Luke’s 56th Fighter Wing, said in a statement.

Gillespie is survived by his wife and four children, the military said.

“The military lost a good guy but I guess God was ready for him,” his mother, Joann Gillespie, who lives in Pueblo, told The Gazette of Colorado Springs on July 11. “He was a wonderful husband, a wonderful dad and a wonderful son.”

Gillespie was in his second tour in Afghanistan and had served overseas in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Portugal during his 24-years in the military, Mary Jo May, a spokeswoman for the base, said.

Ron Gillespie, Gillespie’s older brother, said the family has a long tradition of military service, including the Civil War when ancestors served with both the Union and the Confederacy.

“We’ve had family in many, many wars,” Ron Gillespie, also of Pueblo, said July 11. “This time it was our turn, it was our turn to pay the price. I wish I could take his place.”

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