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Army Cpl. James D. Gudridge

Died January 6, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Carthage, N.Y.; assigned to the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died Jan. 6 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

North County man killed in Iraq always wanted to be soldier

The Associated Press

CARTHAGE, N.Y. — An upstate New York soldier killed in Iraq last weekend grew up wanting to be in the Army, his family said.

Spc. James Gudridge, 20, was killed Jan. 6 in Baghdad when his vehicle was hit with a roadside bomb, the Department of Defense reported Jan. 8.

Gudridge had talked about joining the Army since he was a boy, said his father, Daniel Gudridge Sr. James Gudridge knew he would most likely be sent to war, but wanted to enlist anyway, his father said. He was eager to go on his first tour, which began in November.

“He wanted to be in the action,” Gudridge said.

James Gudridge enlisted while still attending Carthage High School in 2004 and left for basic training in September 2005 after he graduated. He was stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia and was a chemical operations specialist.

A younger brother, Pfc. Michael Gudridge, 19, is a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

His mother, Judy Hoffman, said she wasn’t thrilled about her son joining the Army, but believed her children should follow their dreams.

“I wanted them to do whatever they wanted to do,” she said.

She said her son liked to take chances and wanted to experience everything life had to offer.

“If he didn’t live to the fullest, life didn’t matter,” she said.

Daniel Gudridge Jr. said his younger brother was easygoing, always had a smile on his face and was close with his siblings — two brothers, a sister, a half brother and two stepsisters — and his cousins. James Gudridge enjoyed fishing, hunting, and camping, his brother said.

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