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Army Capt. Joshua E. Steele

Died June 17, 2007 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

26, of North Henderson, Ill.; assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Transition Team), Fort Riley, Kan.; died June 17 in Panjway, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Also killed were Sgt. 1st Class Christopher D. Henderson and Sgt. 1st Class John M. Hennen.

Fort Riley reports 4 soldier deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan

The Associated Press

FORT RILEY, Kan. — Three Fort Riley soldiers serving in Afghanistan and one serving in Iraq have died of wounds they suffered in weekend bombings, the Army said Tuesday.

Officials of the northeast Kansas post identified those killed in Afghanistan as Capt. Joshua E. Steele, 26, of North Henderson, Ill.; Sgt. 1st Class Christopher D. Henderson, 35, of Hillsboro, Ore.; and Sgt. 1st Class John M. Hennen, 26, of Vinton, La.

The three men were wounded Sunday in Panjway when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. They were serving on a transition team assigned to Fort Riley-based 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

In Iraq, Spc. David Anthony Wilkey Jr., 22, was wounded Sunday by a roadside bomb in Baghdad and died Monday. Relatives said Wilkey was born in Michigan, moved as a teenager to Elkhart, Ind., and had lived most recently with his wife and two children in Clay Center, Kan.

Wilkey was assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

Fort Riley officials said that as of Tuesday, 112 soldiers from the post have been killed while serving in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Soldier killed in Afghanistan loved geology, football

The Associated Press

Army Capt. Joshua E. Steele loved rocks and dinosaurs from the age of 5 and read books about both. As he grew older, he began to read J.R.R. Tolkien.

His sister, Gina Steele, said Josh convinced his mother to read some of those works. “And he would quiz her about them,” she said. “I remember he was actually working his way through ‘War and Peace’ when he was 8.”

Steele, 26, of North Henderson, Ill., was killed June 17 by a roadside bomb in Panjway, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Riley, Kan.

He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 2002, with a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering, and was active in Phi Kappa Phi.

He adopted a mustang when he was 13, he loved to raise pigs, and won a soil identification contest. “I always tried to study with him,” said Jonathan White. “He was always cracking some kind of joke.”

While he wasn’t a star football player, he was enthusiastic.

“He was pretty gung-ho about football,” White said. “I think any little bit of playing time he had, he was on top of the world.”

He also is survived by his parents, Paula and Philip.

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