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Army Pfc. Ricky L. Turner

Died January 16, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

20, of Athens, Ala.; assigned to the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Jan. 16 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit.

Bragg soldier killed in explosion

The Associated Press

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The Department of Defense says a soldier based in North Carolina has died while fighting in Iraq.

The military said Wednesday that 20-year-old Pfc. Ricky Turner of Athens, Ala., died Jan. 16 in Baghdad after a bomb exploded near his unit. He was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg.

Turner’s father, James Lee Turner, told WHNT-TV in Alabama that his son wanted to join the military to stand up for his country, and that he died doing what he wanted to do. He said the military told him an improvised explosive device blew up the military vehicle his son was riding in.

Information about Pfc. Turner’s awards and honors was not immediately available.

Turner recalled as ‘gentle giant’

The Associated Press

Ricky L. Turner was deployed to Iraq in November and celebrated his 20th birthday there Dec. 22. He joined the Army on Sept. 11, 2006. “He was so proud of that,” said Vickie Turner, an aunt.

“He was a good boy with a big heart.”

Turner, 20, of Athens, Ala., was killed Jan. 16 by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He was assigned to Fort Bragg.

“He was a gentle giant,” said Lt. Col. James Walker, Turner’s ROTC commander. “He was an outstanding soldier.”

The Rev. Mike Webster said Turner joined the Army not only to follow in the footsteps of his stepbrother, Sgt. Jimmy Grimes, but “to find himself. The Army was making him a strong person.”

Turner also is survived by his wife, Nikki.

“He loved to play video games, and he loved to draw. He was an outstanding student in school. Anything he set his mind to he accomplished,” said Tammy Turner, another aunt.

Turner was one of Dorothy Turner’s seven grandchildren. “He was a wonderful person and I’m very proud of him,” she said. “He was very outgoing. When he stayed with us, he loved to fish in our pond and loved animals.”

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