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Army Spc. Derek A. Calhoun

Died June 23, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

23, of Oklahoma City; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died June 23 in Taji, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Also killed were 1st Lt. Daniel P. Riordan, Sgt. Jimy M. Malone and Sgt. Joel A. House.

Funeral held for soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — The last of four Oklahoma soldiers killed in Iraq in a three-day span was buried July 3.

Army Spc. Derek Alan Calhoun, 23, a tank driver, died in Baghdad on June 23 after a Humvee in which he was riding struck a bomb.

“Derek was not just another soldier,” Pastor C. Wayne Childers said at funeral services at South Lindsay Baptist Church. “He was one of ours.

“He was a Southside boy.”

Childers said the church’s congregation gave Calhoun a standing ovation after he got his orders for Iraq.

“That’s how much we respected and loved this young man,” he said.

Calhoun is the 62nd service member from Oklahoma to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since the ongoing war on terrorism began in October 2001. Nearly 4,000 Americans service members have died in that time.

Funeral services were held July 2 in Oklahoma City for Sgt. Ryan M. Wood and for Pfc. Thomas Ray Leemhuis on June 30 in Binger. They were among five soldiers who died June 21 after the Bradley Fighting Vehicle in which they were riding hit a roadside bomb in northeast Baghdad.

Funeral services were also held July 2 for Army Pfc. Jerimiah J. Veitch, 21, of Dibble, who died in a separate attack in Baghdad when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle.

Family, friends remember soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

A small stuffed raccoon joined the American flag atop Army Spc. Derek A. Calhoun’s casket during the young man’s funeral service.

Pastor C. Wayne Childers said it had been placed there by Calhoun’s niece, Sierra, who had heard a story about him having a raccoon named Rocky as a pet when he was younger.

“They were calling this one Rocky II,” he said.

Calhoun, 23, of Oklahoma City, was killed June 23 by a roadside bomb in Taji, Iraq. He was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.

He enjoyed sports and the outdoors, watching and playing football, basketball, fishing and dogs. He loved to spend time with his nieces and nephews.

“He loved sports, any type,” said his father, Alan.

He was badly injured in a bomb attack at Tikrit four months ago.

He suffered wounds to his abdomen, wrist and shoulder, and underwent several surgeries.

George “Marty” Brock, the former pastor of South Lindsay Baptist Church, said part of Calhoun’s military insurance money will be used to open a new playground at the church.

Brock said no one should forget the sacrifice Calhoun made. “He was — and forever shall be a hero,” he said.

He also is survived by his mother, Lou.

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