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Army Sgt. Joseph M. Tackett

Died June 23, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Whitehouse, Ky.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died June 23 of a non-combat-related injury in Baghdad.

Kentucky soldier dies of non-combat injury in Iraq

By Betsy Vereckey

Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The mother of a soldier from eastern Kentucky who died in Iraq said her son was fulfilling a lifelong dream to see the world.

Sgt. Joseph M. Tackett, 22, died Thursday in Baghdad of a non-combat related injury, Pentagon officials said.

Tackett’s mother, Kathy, said she was visited by a military representative Thursday evening, who said Tackett had been shot. She said she was told that no more details were available until an investigation had been completed.

Joseph Tackett often wrote e-mails to his mother in Whitehouse, Ky., where he was born and raised, telling her of the new and exciting things he was doing every day.

“He told me at one point that he was standing in a mosque and said, ‘There’s not many people who’ve ever done this, Mom,”’ Kathy Tackett said in a telephone interview on Saturday.

Tackett dreamed of joining the military, even when he was a student at Johnson Central High School in Paintsville.

“He enlisted in the military to change his future. He wanted to give himself the opportunities to do the things he wanted to do in life,” Kathy Tackett said.

Tackett was living in Hinesville, Ga., with his wife, Stephanie. Tackett was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery, 4th Brigade Combat Team, of the 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga.

At the time of his death, Tackett was completing his second tour in Baghdad, which began Jan. 31, 2005. He was expecting an 8- to 18-month deployment there, Kathy Tackett said.

Tackett was stationed in the Green Zone, which houses the American Embassy and the Iraqi government. Tackett’s job was to escort dignitaries through the heavily-fortified area in Baghdad.

When he had time to spare, Tackett wrote letters to students at his old elementary school, who his mother said were his “pen pals.”

“He was the type of person who could find something to do, no matter where he was,” Kathy Tackett said.

Plucky and full of life, Tackett enjoyed skateboarding and introducing Iraqis to American rock music.

“He was interested in so many things,” said Kathy Tackett. “I can’t imagine the person that he would have become, if he would’ve had more years.”

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