Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Army Sgt. Gregory D. Unruh

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Gregory D. Unruh, 28, of Dickinson, Texas

Sgt. Unruh was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas; died March 19, 2008 in Mandali, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident.

FORT HOOD – The Defense Department announced Friday the death of a Fort Hood soldier who died in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to information from Fort Hood public affairs.

Sgt. Gregory D. Unruh, 28, of Dickinson, died Wednesday in Mandali, Iraq, of injuries sustained when his military vehicle rolled over.

The incident is under investigation.

Unruh joined the Army in February 2006 as a fire support specialist and was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment since September 2007.

He deployed to Iraq in November 2007.

Unruh's military awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon.

DICKINSON — U.S. Army Sgt. Gregory D. Unruh, who was killed last week during a reconnaissance mission in Iraq, returns home today to his parents, who said they couldn’t be more proud of their son’s military service to his country.

Unruh, 28, is scheduled to arrive at Scholes International Airport in Galveston at 9:45 a.m., where an armada of local law enforcement officers and the Patriot Guard will escort him to a Webster funeral home following a procession through Texas City and Dickinson.

“We’re extremely proud of him,” Anthony Unruh said of his son’s military service Thursday. “There was nothing he wouldn’t do for us, nor us for him.”

A statement from the Fort Hood Public Affairs Office said Unruh joined the Army in February 2006 as a fire support specialist and was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in September.

He was sent to Iraq the following month.

Anthony Unruh said his son was a forward fire control person who would call in air strikes.

“The last time we talked to him, he said every time he goes out, he saves somebody,” Unruh said. “He went out almost every day. He would spend weeks at a time out. He was doing what he wanted to do.”

Unruh was killed when his vehicle rolled over, his father said.

“The only thing we were told was that he was on a reconnaissance mission to take a look at something for the next day,” Unruh said. “He was riding in the top gunner position of his Humvee, and it rolled over somehow. The investigation is not complete.”

Unruh said the family has no remorse or animosity toward anyone concerning his death.

“We were just so proud of him,” Unruh said. “We wanted him back ... He had a good heart. He did what he wanted to do, and that’s what counts.”

Unruh graduated from Pampa High School and studied business at Texas Tech University. He later attended the University of Houston and lived with his parents in Dickinson.

“He was bright,” Unruh said. “And graduated high school at 16, just like me. He was smart, that’s why he was called ‘Professor’ by his platoon. That was their nickname for him.”

After graduating from the University of Houston, Unruh worked for his father at a plastics plant for two years before enlisting in the Army.

“He was due to rotate back in May,” Unruh said. “Then he would have gone back for another six months. When he finished his service, he was going to go to law school.”

A contingent of law enforcement officers from Dickinson, Texas City and Galveston police, along with the sheriff’s office, constables and members of the Patriot Guard, will await Unruh’s return at Scholes Field, said Capt. Brian Goetschius, a Texas City police spokesman.

The escort will leave Galveston and proceed north on Interstate 45 to state Highway 146 in Texas City, Goetschius said. They will continue west on FM 517 through Dickinson and take the interstate to Forest Park Funeral Home in Webster.

Unruh said his son’s funeral is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday but would likely be a private ceremony. He will be buried at the family’s plot near the funeral home, Unruh said.

Army Sgt. Gregory D. Unruh was killed in a vehicle accident on 3/19/08.

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