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Army Staff Sgt. Vinson B. Adkinson III

Died August 31, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

26, of Harper, Kan.; assigned to the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamberg, Germany; died Aug. 31 at FOB Shank, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Sgt. Raymond C. Alcaraz, Spc. Matthew E. George and Spc. James A. Page.

Grandmother: He wanted to go back to Afghanistan to bring peace to people

The Associated Press

DUNCAN, Okla. — An Oklahoma soldier who died while serving in Afghanistan was buried Sept. 13 after a funeral service in Duncan.

The Duncan Banner reported that the private service for Staff Sgt. Vinson B. Adkinson III, 26, at Ray of Hope Church south of Duncan was only open to family and friends. Outside the church, supporters — including members of the Patriot Guard Riders on their motorcycles — roamed the grounds, and others lined nearby roads with red, white and blue signs.

Adkinson’s father, Vinson Adkinson Jr., and the soldier’s sister, Mary Kay, each rang a traveling replica of the Liberty Bell in the soldier’s honor.

Adkinson, an Army Ranger with the Bamburg, Germany-based 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, and three other soldiers died when an improvised explosive device blew up near their unit Aug. 31. The Army said he enlisted in 2003 and was assigned as a heavy vehicle operator.

He grew up in the tiny community of Empire City, Stephens County, but moved to Kansas, where he graduated from high school. The Army listed his hometown as Harper, Kan.

He was buried at Fort Sill National Cemetery.

Adkinson had served three tours of duty in Iraq and was in his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. On Sept. 11, his father said Adkinson was born to be in the military. Adkinson’s grandmother, Mary Adkinson, said she didn’t want him to serve another tour of duty in Afghanistan.

“I begged him not to go back,” she said after seeing her grandson earlier this year. She said he told her he needed to return to Afghanistan so that the people of that nation could have peace in their lives.

After the funeral, a military escort brought Adkinson’s flag-draped casket out of the church and placed it in a white hearse. As the hearse’s rear door closed, red, white and blue balloons were released.

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