Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Army Cpl. Joseph H. Cantrell IV

Remember Our Heroes

Army Cpl. Joseph H. Cantrell IV, 23, of Ashland, Ky.

Cpl. Cantrell was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died April 4 in Taji, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. Also killed was Army Staff Sgt. Jerry C. Burge.

Westwood native killed in Iraq

By BEN FIELDS — The Independent

Westwood — A Westwood native was killed in Iraq Wednesday when a roadside bomb exploded, according to family members.

Army Spc. Joey Cantrell, 23, a 2002 graduate of Fairview High School, was one of two people killed in the explosion, said his mother, Sondra Adkins.

Adkins said she received a call at work Wednesday evening that two men in uniform were looking for her at her Ashland apartment.

The men told Adkins that her son had been killed at 5:55 p.m. Iraqi time, 10:55 a.m. in the Eastern U.S., she said.

“He was in a vehicle where they were diffusing a roadside bomb,” said a sobbing Adkins. “It blew up and killed him and his sergeant.

“They said he went very fast and there was no suffering.”

Cantrell’s death has yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Department of Defense. A spokesman for the agency declined comment because Cantrell was not yet listed among the casualties posted on the department’s Web site.

But news of Cantrell’s death spread quickly through the Ashland community, leaving many in mourning.

“He’s made the ultimate sacrifice and our hearts go out to the family. Most of the kids (at Fairview) remember Joey,” said Bill Musick, superintendent of Fairview schools and Cantrell’s former football coach.

“You always noticed Joey Cantrell because of how he presented himself. He was a sharp kid,” Musick said.

Cantrell played football, ran track and kept his grades up, too, Musick said.

“The last thing he said to me was, ‘coach, I’ll be all right,’” Musick said.

Thursday, the soldier’s MySpace page was flooded with laments and promises of remembrance from friends.

His mother’s apartment was filled Thursday with friends and family offering support.

“He did quite well before he joined the military,” Adkins said. “He could have done anything he wanted. He excelled in everything he ever did.”

“Don’t forget that he had a great smile,” added Teara Hill, a first cousin to Cantrell.

Cantrell was not married, and had no children. In addition to his mother, he is survived by his father, Joseph Cantrell III; his stepfather, Brian Adkins; a 5-year-old brother, Chase Adkins; four aunts; two uncles; two grandparents; and several cousins.

“His little brother is in denial,” Adkins said. “He still thinks Joey’s coming home.”

Adkins herself was struggling with the reality of the news.

“This just can’t be happening,” she said between sobs.

The last time Adkins saw her son was during a surprise visit around Valentine’s Day, when he gave her a medallion in the shape of a dog tag that had a picture of himself, his mother and his brother etched into the metal. The inscription reads “Close at Heart.”

Cantrell is the second soldier from the Ashland area to die in the war in Iraq.

Army Pfc. Scott Messer, 26, was killed in February 2006 when the Humvee he was riding in overturned south of Baghdad.

It took 10 days for Messer’s remains to be returned to Ashland, and Adkins said she was told by military officials it would take the same amount of time for her son.

“He was scheduled to be home in July; now he’ll be home in 10 days,” Adkins said. “I just ask people to pray for me and my family. Joey is loved and sadly missed.

“He never made me anything but proud.”

Army Cpl. Joseph H. Cantrell IV was killed in action on 04/04/07.

No comments: