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Army Spc. Joseph A. Rahaim

Died February 16, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Magnolia, Miss.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 155th Infantry Regiment (Mechanized), Mississippi Army National Guard, McComb, Miss.; killed Feb. 16 when a roadway collapsed, causing his vehicle to roll over, at Forward Operating Base Iskandariyah, Iraq. Also killed was Army Sgt. Timothy R. Osbey.

Mississippi Guardsman awarded posthumous Bronze Star

By Ed Shearer

Associated Press

SNELLVILLE, Ga. — Spc. Joseph Andrew “Drew” Rahaim, a Mississippi National Guardsman who died in a vehicle accident last week in Iraq, was awarded the Bronze Star and the Mississippi Medal of Valor posthumously during his funeral on Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Harold Cross, adjutant of Mississippi, presented the citations and medals he called “two of our nation’s highest awards” during the service at Wages Snellville Chapel, with about 200 people in attendance.

A lone bagpiper began the service, marching into the chapel playing “Dixie” and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and ended the 50-minute service playing “Amazing Grace” as military pallbearers escorted the flag-draped coffin to the hearse for a 120-mile drive to Rahaim’s final resting place, the Fort Benning National Cemetery.

Rahaim and Sgt. Timothy Osbey were killed last week when their vehicle rolled over into a canal when the roadway they were driving on collapsed, Mississippi Guard officials said.

The 22-year-old was known as a storyteller, frequently entertaining family and friends with humorous tales and adventuresome events.

His fellow soldiers in his unit in Iraq will believe their “guardian angel will be tied up listening to some of Drew’s tall tales,” said the Rev. Jeff McCammon of the First Baptist Church in Lithonia.

McCammon, Rahaim’s cousin, said if he were around “I’m sure he would have some one-liners for us right now.”

He said the family thought Drew would find a place for himself in the Army. Instead, McCammon said, “It was a place for the world to find Drew.”

Rahaim, who formerly lived in Jackson, Miss., was on his mission to Iraq with the 155th Mechanized Infantry from Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Miss. He had attended Terry High School in Mississippi.

In his eulogy, the Rev. Phil McMinn of the Brookwood Baptist Church in Lawrenceville said Rahaim was destined to be a soldier from childhood.

“His GI Joe was never far away, and Ken and Barbie had to deal with that,” McMinn said.

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