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Army Sgt. Joel D. Clarkson

Died March 16, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

23, of Fairbanks, Alaska; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; died March 16 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, of wounds sustained March 13 during combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Flags at half-staff to honor fallen soldier

The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska’s governor is ordering flags flown at half-staff in honor of a 23-year-old Army Ranger who was fatally wounded in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Joel D. Clarkson died March 16 from wounds sustained March 12 by small-arms fire while his unit was on patrol in Helmland province.

On Friday, Gov. Sean Parnell ordered state flags to be lowered to half-staff on Tuesday in his honor.

He called Clarkson “a brave soldier who sacrificed his life while defending our freedom.”

The Fairbanks native had been assigned to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Fallen Ranger leaves behind 9-month-old son

The Associated Press

Joel D. Clarkson’s uncle says the 23-year-old Army Ranger’s life came together when he joined the military and started a family.

“Everything just clicked,” David Williams said. “His drive was to be a soldier.”

Williams described his nephew as athletic and outgoing. Clarkson enlisted in the Army from his hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, and his family said he had been deployed three times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan.

“Thoughtful, fearless, and engaging, Sgt. Joel Clarkson possessed that intangible stuff we desire most in Ranger — the stuff of which legends are made,” said Col. Mark Odom.

Clarkson died March 16 — three days after he was injured in combat in Helmand province.

After two surgeries in Afghanistan, his family said, he was taken to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where he died.

He was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“My world just ended. I have lost my baby,” Clarkson’s mother, Karen Williams-Clarkson, posted on her Facebook page after her son died.

Clarkson’s survivors include his wife, Cassandra, and 9-month-old son, Orion.

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