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Army Spc. Joshua S. Modgling

Died June 19, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Las Vegas; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died June 19 in Muhammad al Ali, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Also killed was Sgt. 1st Class William A. Zapfe.

Las Vegas man killed by bomb in Iraq

The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas man was killed in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle, military officials said.

Army Pfc. Joshua S. Modgling was 22 years old. He died June 19 in Muhammad al Ali of wounds suffered during the blast, according to a Defense Department statement issued June 20.

Army Sgt. 1st Class William A. Zapfe, 35, of Muldraugh, Ky. also was killed.

Both men were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons said flags at the capitol would be flown at half-staff in honor of Modgling.

“His sacrifice will not be forgotten. We honor his service and his dedication to this nation,” Gibbons said in a statement.

As of Thursday, at least 3,545 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,903 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.

Parents remember soldier from Las Vegas killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Joshua S. Modgling was an Army soldier from an Air Force family who joined the military to gain direction in his life and save money for college.

“He went in a pug-nosed little kid and came out a man,” Julie Montano of Mira Loma, Calif., said of her 22-year-old son, who died June 19 in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq.

For Montano and Keith Modgling of Henderson the July 6 trip to Riverside National Cemetery in California to bury their soldier son will bring back painful memories of burying his brother, Ryan, who died of leukemia when he was 5.

Pfc. Joshua Stephen Modgling will be buried next to Ryan and another of Keith Modgling’s sons, Dustin, who died of a heart defect a week after he was born in 1994. That was the year after Keith Modgling moved to Las Vegas from Hawaii after 15 years in the Air Force.

“He was probably the most respectful, most caring person I ever knew,” his father said, recalling feeling honored when his son joined the Army in 2005 that his son “grew up, found direction and became a man.”

“The one thing that he said before he left is, ‘Mom, if I ever have to die, I want to die in Iraq,’ ” his mother said. “He hated the Army with a passion because there are so many rules and regulations. But he went over there for us.”

Joshua Modgling was born Jan. 3, 1985, in Rapid City, S.D., while his dad was stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Ryan was diagnosed with leukemia at age 3, and the family moved to March Air Force Base near Riverside, Calif. After he died, his parents divorced.

“It tore us apart,” Montano told the Las Vegas Review-Journal by telephone from Mira Loma. “Keith stayed at March. I moved to Pahrump with the boys. He stayed in the military and got remarried.”

During the ordeal with Ryan, Joshua spent time with his grandmother, Karen Nelson, in Pahrump, about 60 miles west of Las Vegas.

Nelson, a retired Nye County detective, said Joshua was very competitive and hated to lose at soccer, basketball, swimming and Little League baseball.

He and his younger brother, Christopher, spent much of their time in the Las Vegas area, where Joshua attended Manch Elementary School, four middle schools and Silverado High School.

He left high school in his sophomore year to live with his mother in California. His parents said he passed General Educational Development tests.

Montano said her son’s choice to become a combat engineer was fitting, because as a child he used baking soda and small explosives to blow tennis balls out of cans.

Joshua Modgling had been in Iraq since May and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga.

He was driving a vehicle June 19 near Muhammad al Ali, Iraq, when a bomb exploded, killing him and 35-year-old Army Sgt. 1st Class William A. Zapfe of Muldraugh, Ky.

Nelson recalled that the night before Modgling headed overseas, they had a long talk.

“ ‘Grandma,’ ” she recalled him saying, “’I’m going to come home for you.’

“The only thing was, we imagined him coming home alive,” she said.

Visitation will be July 5 at Arlington Mortuary in Riverside, with a funeral service and burial July 6.

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