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Army Spc. Rodney A. Jones

Died September 30, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Philadelphia; assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; killed Sept. 30 when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device exploded near his dismounted patrol in Baghdad.

Rodney A. Jones had a clear plan for his life: He was going to join the Army, go to college, then become a politician. "He was going to be president one day," said Jones' sister, Felicia Devine. "He told me when he was like 16. I believe, really believe, that he would have been. He was just that smart and intelligent." Jones, 21, of Philadelphia, died Sept. 30 in a suicide bombing in Baghdad. He was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. Jones read voraciously and graduated high school at 16. He wrote poetry and listened to classical music. "He was very analytical and very intelligent," Devine said. "A lot of people thought he was really old for his age." Devine said that when her brother learned he was going to Iraq, he started trolling the Internet to pick up some of the language. It paid off: When Jones returned home for a one-week break, he struck up a conversation in Arabic at a fast-food restaurant. He is survived by his mother, Renee Jones, and his high school sweetheart, Terricka Willis. "I'll get married to him in heaven," Willis said. "It'll probably be better there anyway."

— Associated Press

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