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- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Sgt. James W. Harvey II
Died June 20, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
23, of Toms River, N.J.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Knox, Ky.; died June 20 in Molla Kala, Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire.
Soldier who lived in Toms River killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan
By Stephanie Loder
Asbury Park (N.J.) Press
TOMS RIVER — On the eve of President Obama’s address to the nation announcing plans for troop withdrawals came news that a soldier from Toms River was killed when his Army unit was attacked in Afghanistan.
Cpl. James W. Harvey II, 23, of Bayview Drive here, formerly of Clark, the youngest of four children, died June 20 in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire.
He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Knox, Ky.
The announcement of Harvey’s death Tuesday came as Obama prepares to tell the nation tonight his plans for reducing U.S. troops in Afghanistan. There are about 100,000 now. Governor Chris Christie today ordered all State buildings to fly flags at half-staff on Friday to honor the service and sacrifice of Harvey.
Harvey’s father, also named James Harvey, a network administrator for an automobile corporation, said the troops should have been home from Afghanistan already.
“I was just talking about this the other day at work. The troops need to come back,” he said. “When we went over there, it was to get the guy who plotted to take down the World Trade Center and we got him. Mission accomplished. Why are we still there?”
Harvey’s sister, Tracey, who is 25, said her brother treated her as if he were an older brother.
“He took care of me, and I took care of him,” said Tracey Harvey. “I didn’t want him to go into the Army, but it was for selfish reasons. But I knew it would be good for him.”
In addition to Tracey Harvey, Harvey is survived by two other sisters, Robin Faffaele, 29, and Christine Douglas, 35, and his mother, Susan. He would have celebrated his 24th birthday on July 21.
Harvey’s father said an Army captain and a chaplain arrived Monday to tell the family of their son’s death. Details were still sketchy and the information about his death is still coming in, his father said.
Harvey enlisted in the Army at the age of 21, went through basic training in Kentucky and was deployed to Andar province in January, his father said.
“He came home in May and he was very despondent. He had lost a couple of friends, and he took it very hard,” he said. “The first thing he did was lower the flag, and then a few days later he put it back up.”
His son asked his father twice to enlist after high school. Each time, Harvey told his son that even though he registered with the draft during the Vietnam War, he didn’t see it as a good move.
In January, Harvey, whose specialties included Airborne and Airborne Assault, relieved the 101st Airborne in January. Harvey communicated to his father through Facebook.
“I talked to him last Wednesday. I told him I had not heard from him in a long time,” Harvey said of his son. “Then he said it was better for him to be off base than on base because of the insurgents attacking them.
“We would message and chat,” he said.
James — known to his family and friends as “Jimmy” — worked in his civilian job at Public Service Electric & Gas, his father said.
He said his son worked in the Metro Division underground as a cable splicer helper and as a substation operator. He said officials told him they were looking to promote him into management.
His father said he worried that his son was so anxious to become a soldier.
“He didn’t seem to have a grasp of the consequences,” he said.
James said he and his wife picked out cemetery plots and a funeral home for their son on Tuesday.
“This was something that we had not even done for ourselves,” he said. “We moved here four years ago for our retirement, to enjoy things a little and enjoy our family. Not this.”
He said the family will head to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware today where a plane carrying their son’s body will land. Funeral services are still in the planning stages.
He said the Army told him that his son will be awarded posthumously a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
“It has hit us. My wife doesn’t want to talk about it. I keep busy because if I don’t, I sit there and I feel sorry for myself,” he said. “I just want people to remember him and maybe think about how we need to bring these soldiers home.”