Saturday, May 12, 2007

Army Sgt. 1st Class James D. Connell Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class James D. Connell Jr., 40, of Lake City, Tenn.

SFC Connell was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died May 12, 2007 in Al Taqa, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his patrol was attacked by enemy forces using automatic fire and explosives. Also killed were Pfc. Daniel W. Courneya and Pfc. Christopher E. Murphy

Lake City native dies when patrol attacked in Iraq

The Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The family of Army Sgt. First Class James David Connell Jr. in Lake City said members have been told Connell died when his patrol came under attack in Iraq.

Connell’s family learned of his death May 12. They said Connell, 40, was one of five killed in the attack near Mahmudiyah, Iraq. Three other soldiers are believed to have been kidnapped.

“He’s just a real good son,” said his father, James Connell Sr. “Everybody loved him.”

Connell was with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division.

The Defense Department had not by Monday morning confirmed the identities of four soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter killed in the attack.

Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell confirmed the other soldiers in the patrol were missing. An al-Qaida group claims to have taken them.

Connell had just recovered from a shrapnel wound to the leg when he saw his family on leave earlier this month. While home he visited the classes of two of his children — Bryan, 12, and Courtney, 14.

Connell took Bryan, Courtney and his eldest son, 16-year-old Nick, out of school for a day each to spend time with them, Courtney said.

The family gathered May 13 at the home where Connell grew up to look at photos taken during his last visit home.

Nick said his father lived in a village in Iraq two weeks at a time and patrolled two weeks at a time but couldn’t talk about exactly where he was.

“He said it was hard,” Courtney said.

The family is planning a memorial service at the Hatmaker Funeral Home in Lake City. The date hasn’t been set.

Connell will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, according to his brother, Jeff Connell.

Army Sgt. 1st Class James D. Connell Jr. was killed in action on 5/12/07.

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