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- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Spc. Dennis J. Pratt
Died July 20, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
34, of Duncan, Okla.; assigned to the 4th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery (Strike), 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died July 20 in Maydan Shahr, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle followed by an attack from enemy forces using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. Also killed were Spc. Anthony M. Lightfoot, Spc. Andrew J. Roughton and Sgt. Gregory Owens Jr.
Duncan soldier killed in Afghanistan
The Associated Press
DUNCAN, Okla. — The parents of an Oklahoma soldier say their 34-year-old son was among four killed during an attack in Afghanistan earlier this week.
Army Pfc. Dennis J. Pratt of Duncan was driving a Humvee in a convoy in a classified location when a roadside bomb exploded near the vehicle, his parents said. A Defense Department statement said the four soldiers in the vehicle then came under enemy fire with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms.
Along with Pratt, those killed were 24-year-old Sgt. Gregory Owens Jr. of Garland, Texas; 20-year-old Spc. Anthony M. Lightfoot of Riverdale, Ga.; and 21-year-old Spc. Andrew J. Roughton of Houston.
All were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 25th “Strike” Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th “Mountain” Division (Light Infantry) in Fort Drum, N.Y.
“A shell hit in front of him, then another shell hit behind him,” said Pratt’s mother, Sinnamon Pratt. “There was no place for him to go. The third shell hit the Humvee and tore it in two.”
“Dennis wasn’t supposed to be at that place at that time, but he always told us that the Army and serving his country was where he wanted to be. He had found his niche in life in the military,” she added.
She said he was due to leave Afghanistan on Monday for a two-week break.
Sinnamon Pratt said she did not know exactly when or where her son’s body would be returned to Oklahoma, but that his funeral services will be held in a Fort Sill chapel and he will be buried at Fort Sill National Cemetery.
Army was his ‘niche in life’
The Associated Press
Dennis J. Pratt was a third-generation soldier and 34-year-old father of three who was called “the old man” among comrades in his unit.
“He had found his niche in life in the military,” said his mother, Sinnamon.
Pratt, of Duncan, Okla., was killed July 20 when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Wardak province, Afghanistan, days before he was scheduled to head home for two weeks of down time.
“Dennis wasn’t supposed to be at that place at that time, but he always told us that the Army and serving his country was where he wanted to be,” his mother said.
He had graduated high school in Southington, Conn., and was assigned to Fort Drum, N.Y.
His calls home to Oklahoma always ended with him saying, “I’ve got your back. You can sleep in peace,” his mother said.
He is survived by his three children; his wife, Michelle; his parents; and two brothers.
Duncan residents stood along the road with American flags to honor their hometown hero as his family drove to the funeral at Fort Sill, Okla. Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, who attended the services, praised Pratt as “a beloved son” of Duncan.