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Army Spc. Joseph F. Herndon II

Died July 29, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Derby, Kan.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division (Light), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; killed July 29 when he was shot while on guard duty in Hawijah, Iraq.

Joseph F. Herndon II was the kind of man who collected friends wherever he went. "He was a big mush, the way he talks about his wife and his family," said Sgt. Chris Bolwell, who served with him. "Everybody liked him," agreed Sgt. Andrew Fix, Herndon's best man at his wedding. "He was just one of those kids." Herndon, 21, of Derby, Kan., was shot and killed July 29 while on guard duty in Hawijah, Iraq. He was based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and is survived by his wife, Melanie. Twice wounded since arriving in Iraq, Herndon had twice insisted on returning. Fellow soldiers said Herndon once had to be forced onto a truck to get medical treatment because he didn't want to leave his unit. Some 1,500 people attended a memorial at his high school where the former football player was remembered as a model of loyalty. "Joe was your friend whether he knew you for 20 minutes or 20 years," said his friend, Loren Flaherty. "You rarely meet someone who can teach you about yourself, but Joe was one of those guys."

— Associated Press

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