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Army Pvt. Joshua F. Powers

Died February 24, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Skiatook, Okla.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Feb. 24 of a non-combat-related injury in Baghdad.

Okla. soldier remembered as a “unique person”

SKIATOOK, Okla. — Family and friends mourned the loss of an Oklahoma soldier without the clamor of protests from members of a Kansas church.

Army Pvt. Joshua Francis Powers was remembered Monday as a “unique person” with a congenial spirit.

Powers, 21, died Feb. 25 from a non-combat-related injury in Baghdad, the Department of Defense said. He had been in Iraq about 2" weeks as part of the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, which is based in Fort Campbell, Ky.

His funeral came days after Gov. Brad Henry signed into a law legislation designed to keep protesters at least 500 feet away from military service members’ funerals an hour before and after the service.

The law was in response to funeral demonstrations by the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church, which claims God is allowing soldiers, miners and others to be killed because the United States tolerates homosexuality.

An elder at Sperry’s Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, C.H. Whiteman said he knew of no one like Powers, who earned his GED with only a month’s study before joining the Army in July.

“Joshua was a unique person,” Whiteman said. “A lot of us would say he was backward. But that was just his way of life.”

Whiteman described Powers as an “even-tempered” soul who served as “peacemaker” between his brothers, Michael and Jonathan.

He also loved his dog, Spunky, which had been a pet since Powers was in kindergarten. When Powers was shipped off to the Army, he worried about his furry friend.

“He thought he would die of old age before he got home,” Whiteman said of the pet, which is still alive.

Powers was buried at Osage Garden Cemetery, where the Army presented Powers posthumous commendation and good-conduct medals, honored him with a 21-gun salute and played “Taps.”

Whiteman said Powers was doing what he thought was right.

“If it weren’t for young men like him, we couldn’t enjoy the kind of life we have in America,” he said.

— Associated Press

Okla. soldier dies of non-combat-related gunshot wound

OKLAHOMA CITY — A 101st Airborne Division infantryman from Oklahoma died Friday in Iraq of a non-combat related gunshot wound, the Army confirmed Wednesday.

Army Pfc. Joshua Francis Powers, 21, of Skiatook, Okla., died in southern Baghdad. His mother, Patricia Powers, said her son had been in the country about 2 1/2 weeks.

Powers’ death is under investigation, according to an Army news release.

The Army said Powers enlisted in July and arrived at Fort Campbell in December. He was assigned to the Company A, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Powers was the youngest of three boys. Patricia Powers has said military service wasn’t exactly what her son thought it would be, but “he was meeting that responsibility.”

Services for Powers are pending. Fort Campbell straddles the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

— Associated Press

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