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Army Sgt. James M. Nolen

Died November 22, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

25, of Alvin, Texas; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Benning, Ga.; died Nov. 22 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Pfc. Marcus A. Tynes.

Being infantryman ‘all he ever wanted to do’

The Associated Press

James M. Nolen had a bit of tunnel vision when it came to being an infantryman.

It was “all he ever wanted to do,” said his wife, Rachel Anne Nolen.

He also was dedicated to his family and, even overseas, was preparing for another big task: playing the proud papa to a new baby. He anticipated the weekly pregnancy update e-mails from his wife, who let him listen to the infant’s heartbeat when they talked on the phone.

But the 25-year-old dad-to-be from Alvin, Texas, died of wounds from a roadside bomb in Zabul province, Afghanistan, on Nov. 22, less than two weeks shy of his first wedding anniversary. He had deployed in late summer for his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, hoping he’d return after only a year this time.

He was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., where fellow paratroopers said they would remember him as a “true soldier.”

“Nothing could take away from his warm personality,” they said in a statement. “His caring smile and willingness to help others were his most identifiable features.”

Nolen had attended Bay Area Christian School and joined the Army in 2005.

Survivors include his parents and his stepson, William.

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