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Army Cpl. Forest J. Jostes

Died April 4, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Albion, Ill.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; killed April 4 when his unit was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire in Baghdad.

When he was 7, Forest Jostes wrote in his school journal that he was going to be in the Army when he grew up. On his 17th birthday, as a high school senior in Albion, Ill., Jostes enlisted in the Army National Guard. And two months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Jostes joined the Army full-time. Cpl. Jostes, 21, who was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, had been in Iraq for only a week when he was killed April 4 in an attack on his unit by rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire in Baghdad.

Seven other soldiers also died. He had volunteered for a rapid response team the day he died, said his parents, Von and Diane Ibbotson. "The young man has been trying to find a niche in life and found it in the military. He believed in what he was doing," Von Ibbotson said. At Christmastime, with Jostes' deployment date drawing near, the family made sure to come together, Diane Ibbotson said. "We expressed all of our love to him. We said everything we needed to say," she said. "We're a God-believing family, and we know he is in heaven today."

— Associated Press

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