Monday, August 01, 2005

Marine Sgt. James R. Graham III

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Sgt. James R. Graham III, 25, of Coweta, Oklahoma.

Sgt Graham died as a result of a vehicle-born improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations near Hit, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Reserve’s 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Graham’s unit was attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

A 25-year-old Marine from Coweta was killed in a suicide car bombing near Hit, Iraq, about 85 miles northwest of Baghdad, the Department of Defense confirmed on Tuesday.

Sgt. James R. Graham III was assigned to the Marine Reserve Unit in Broken Arrow, an anti-tank company.

The military said Graham was “conducting combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom” when the bomber struck on Monday.

The anti-tank unit from suburban Tulsa was scheduled to return from its tour of duty in about one month, Tulsa television station KOTV reported Tuesday.

Graham is survived by a wife and two small children.

Graham had received three medals for his time served in Iraq, including the Good Conduct Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Selective Marine Corps Reserve medal, said Christopher Logan, media officer for the Marine Forces Reserve. Graham will receive more honors as well, including a Purple Heart, Logan said.

Betty Willhoite, a next-door neighbor, said she has fond memories of Graham playing with his boys.

“He would always be out there showing the oldest how to kick a soccer ball into the net,” Willhoite said. “He was a nice man. He worked very hard and was such a good person. I just hate to see this happen to such a nice, young family. He felt like it was his duty.”

Willhoite said she heard the news Monday from Graham’s wife, who was out in the yard. Willhoite said she asked the family pastor to add them to a church prayer list.

“He was very gentle and a great father, a little on the quiet side,” Willhoite said. “I’ve never heard him raise his voice.”

Marine Sgt. James R. Graham III was killed in action on 08/01/05.

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