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Army Lt. Col. Leon G. James II

Died October 10, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

46, of Sackets Harbor, N.Y.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 314th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 78th Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Oct. 10 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., of injuries sustained Sep. 26 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Baghdad.

Slain officer loved the outdoors, says family

Associated Press

SACKETS HARBOR, N.Y. — A Fort Drum officer who passed up retirement to continue serving in the Army died Monday of injuries he suffered in an explosion in Iraq, his family said.

The Defense Department said Tuesday that Lt. Col. Leon James II, 46, of Sackets Harbor, died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He was injured in a road attack in Baghdad Sept. 26 that claimed the lives of two other soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Casey Howe of Philadelphia, N.Y., and Master Sgt. Tulsa Tuliau of Watertown.

They were assigned to Fort Drum’s 3rd Battalion, 314th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 78th Division.

James’ mother-in-law, Ursula Hicks of Fayetteville, N.C., said the men were riding in a Humvee when they swerved to avoid a suspicious vehicle, which then exploded.

Hicks recalled how her son-in-law loved spending time outdoors.

“He was talking about retiring when he got back to go hunting and fishing with my husband,” she said.

He leaves behind his wife, Sylvia, and three daughters: Maria, 16, Rachael, 11, and Kathryn, 5. James met his wife while stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. Hicks said he declined to retire five years ago.

The family lived in Sackets Harbor, along Lake Ontario 19 miles west of the base, and James was an elder at United Presbyterian Church.

“When he left here he told us he would come back, and he did come back,” Hicks said. “He came back so we could make closure and for the girls to see him one more time.”


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