Tuesday, July 24, 2007



Arkansas Guardsman Killed in Iraq

CAMP JOSEPH T. ROBINSON, Ark. – The Department of Defense today announced the death of an Arkansas National Guard Soldier participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. John Ray Massey, 29, of Higginson, Ark., died July 15, in Balad, Iraq, as a result of injuries sustained when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device during combat operations in Baghdad, Iraq on July 14, 2007. Massey was assigned to Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Fires Brigade from Ozark.

"Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of one of our courageous Soldiers," said Maj. Gen. William D. Wofford, adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this young man. No words can fill the void in their lives left by his loss. I only hope his family can take comfort knowing he died in valiant service to his country. He was called to serve, and he answered that call. He was a true patriot and will not soon be forgotten."

Approximately 150 Soldiers from the Ozark, Ark. based battery were mobilized for duty in Iraq on February 4, 2007. The unit is slated to return early in 2008.

Along with the Ozark based unit, the 142nd's Headquarters Battery is in Iraq, and the brigade's other 2nd Battalion units from Fort Smith, Van Buren and Siloam Springs are in Kuwait. In total, the 142nd Fires Brigade has over 300 Soldiers currently deployed.

This is the 22nd loss suffered by the Arkansas National Guard during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the second for the 142nd Fires Brigade.

Currently the Arkansas National Guard has over 1,100 Soldiers and Airmen deployed to support operations in the Global War on Terrorism.

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