Army Staff Sgt. James D. Bullard, 28, of Marion, S.C.
SSgt. Bullard was assigned to the South Carolina National Guard's 1st Battalion, 263rd Armor Regiment, in Marion, S.C.; died Oct. 30, 2007 in Spearwan Ghar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using rocket-propelled grenade fire, machine gun fire, mortars and small-arms fire during combat operations.
S.C. Guard soldier, a new father, dies in combat in Afghanistan
By Susanne M. Schafer
The Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A soldier who was home in September for the birth of his first child was killed this week by enemy fire in Afghanistan, family and officials said Oct. 31.
South Carolina Army National Guard Staff Sgt. James David Bullard, 28, died in Sperwan Ghar on his first tour of duty, according to his brother-in-law, Harold Caldwell.
“He was in for 11 years and he died doing what he loved,” Caldwell said in a telephone interview. “His family made him happy. He was a real good family guy.”
Bullard, of Marion, came home to be with his wife Amber, arriving two days before the birth of their son Kristopher Hayden Bullard, the brother-in-law said.
Bullard was sent to Afghanistan in January. His unit was due to return either in December or January.
Before being deployed on active duty, Bullard worked as a grocery manager for Food Lion in Dillon.
He was involved in JROTC at Marion High School and joined the Guard at age 17, his brother-in-law said.
He attended Florence-Darlington Technical College, Caldwell said.
He served with Company B of the 1-263rd Armor Battalion based in Dillon, according to a statement issued by the South Carolina National Guard.
“He was deeply committed to the cause of freedom and this belief led him to serve his state and country with honor and distinction,” Maj. Gen. Stan Spears, the state Adjutant General, said in the statement. “The S.C. Army National Guard will sorely miss this great American and we join his family and friends in mourning his passing.”
Bullard’s death marks the second South Carolina Guard soldier to die in Afghanistan in as many weeks.
Sgt. Edward Philpot, 38, of Latta, died Oct. 23 when his vehicle rolled over during a convoy operation northwest of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.
Both soldiers were part of the 218th Combat Brigade Team from South Carolina sent to help train members of the Afghan Army and police. Some soldiers also have been embedded with Afghan units in the field.
The massive brigade was the largest single unit deployment by the South Carolina National Guard since World War II.
The unit is part of a five-year-old multinational effort designed to keep Afghanistan on the road to recovery following the U.S.-led military campaign that ousted Taliban militants in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Army Staff Sgt. James D. Bullard was killed in action on 10/30/07.
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