Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Army National Guard Sgt. Joshua V. Youmans

Remember Our Heroes

Army National Guard Sgt. Joshua V. Youmans, 26, Flushing, Michigan

Sgt Youmans Died at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, on March 1, 2006, from injuries sustained when a roadside bomb detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Habbaniya, Iraq on November 21, 2005.

Sunday, March 12, 2006
By Beata Mostafavi • 810.766.6210
FLUSHING - For the first few weeks after becoming a father, Sgt. Joshua Youmans watched his baby girl sleep in her bassinet via a Web camera from Iraq.

Little blue-eyed, blond-haired MacKenzie recently got to meet her father in person for the first time as he recovered at a Texas hospital from injuries suffered in the war.

On Saturday, nestled in a pink- and green-striped blanket, the 5-month-old sat in a relative's arms in the front row at her father's funeral.

MacKenzie always will know what a hero her father was, Youmans' wife, Katie, told the crowd that filled nearly all of the 600-plus seats at St. Robert Catholic Church.

"His impact on the world will never be forgotten," said an emotional Katie, who had been married to Youmans nearly six years.

Later, as her husband was buried at Flushing Cemetery, she bent down to kiss his coffin, clutching the folded American flag that had blanketed it during the funeral.

Joshua Youmans was 26 when he died nearly two weeks ago at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He had spent the past four months there receiving care after a Humvee he was riding struck a land mine, leaving him severely burned.

He was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service.

Katie Youmans spoke of the last few memories she shared with her husband before he died, such as when she told him President Bush was paying him a visit at the hospital, and he balked at the news.

"When (the president) walked in and said 'Hi Josh,' he said, 'Wow, you weren't kidding,'" Katie said, drawing laughter.

Or how nurses at the hospital were amused by his "tough guy" act when he refused pain medication, only to regret it soon after.

But she will also treasure their ordinary times together, such as eating barbecue wings during dinners out and playing with their dog, Sweetie.

Or how at night she'd always say "Sleep tight," and he would respond with "Don't let the bed bugs bite."

"Josh and I completed each other," she said. "He was my soul mate and the love of my life. We knew how lucky we were to have found each other.

"I am so grateful to have been a part of his life."

She said people who knew him remember his "crazy laugh," "wicked sense of humor," playfulness and loving, caring nature.

He joined the Army National Guard more than two years ago because he had such great respect for the job, she said.

She said after learning he was going to be deployed to Iraq, he told her he wanted to go "to protect our country" and the freedoms of his then-unborn child.

In the time he was there, the two would meet regularly online to chat, which made him late to duty at least one time.

And even though he couldn't physically be in the delivery room the day MacKenzie was born, he listened on the phone until he heard her newborn cry.

He loved to watch his daughter on the Web video camera after she was born.

"Just so he could see her being a baby," Katie said.

She spoke of the stories he shared with her, such as playing with Iraqi children in a village.

"Even though his life was lived way too short, he made the most of it," she said. "He was so proud to be a part of the infantry. He truly was an American hero."

Katie's tribute was followed by the country song "American Soldier." Meanwhile outside the church, the low tunes of "Hero" and "Born in the USA" wafted out of a white pickup truck painted in red and blue stripes and stars.

Army National Guard Sgt. Joshua V. Youmans, died 03/01/06.


Ozzy said...

RIP |NcA|=Toolman You were a good friend to many. Yet you died One.

(former |NcA|=)Ozzy

dick zapata said...

Hey RIP Battle Buddy...we had good times @ E 2/58.

Anonymous said...

Still think about you brother... RIP