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Illinois Army National Guard Sgt. Ivory L. Phipps

Died March 17, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

44, of Chicago; assigned to the 1544th Transportation Company, Illinois Army National Guard, Paris, Ill.; died March 17 of injuries sustained from a mortar attack in Baghdad.

Ivory Phipps first enlisted in the Army National Guard as a teenager to escape a rough neighborhood. He re-enlisted at the age of 43 to provide for his newborn son. "The most important thing in his life was his family," his fiancee, LaToya Ragsdale, said. The 44-year-old sergeant from Chicago died March 17 when a mortar round detonated inside a logistics base in Baghdad. He was based in Paris, Ill. He had been in Iraq less than a week. Phipps, the youngest of eight children, first joined the military when he was 18 and fought in Desert Storm, said Albert Phipps, his older brother. "I went with him to enlist," Phipps said. "We were going to serve our country because things were getting kind of tough on the streets. " Phipps went on to serve 15 years in the National Guard. Phipps, who worked as a driver for a rental car company, re-enlisted in February 2003 because he wanted to provide a better life for his family, Ragsdale said. Their son was 5 months old when Phipps died. Survivors also include Phipps' two adult sons and a teenage daughter.

— Associated Press

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