Monday, March 01, 2010

Army Sgt. Vincent L.C. Owens

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Vincent L.C. Owens, 21, of Fort Smith, Ark.

Sgt. Owens was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died March 1, 2010 at Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained earlier that day when enemy forces attacked his vehicle using direct fire in Yosuf Khel.

Family: Patriotism led Owens to join Army
The Associated Press

SPIRO, Okla. — The family of a soldier with Oklahoma ties who died in Afghanistan says he joined the Army out of a sense of patriotism.

The Department of Defense reported that Sgt. Vincent Owens died March 1 at Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan, after his transport vehicle was attacked.

Owens was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

His hometown was listed as Fort Smith, Ark., but the family said he grew up in LeFlore County, Okla.

Owens’ uncle, Gary Hope of Spiro, says Owens had left for Afghanistan on Feb. 14 for his second tour there.

Owens had been married to a Fort Smith woman for only a few weeks, his family said.

Owens had been in Afghanistan just two weeks when his family received the grim news Tuesday of his death, according to his uncle, Gary Hope of Spiro.

Hope said Owens had left for Afghanistan for his second tour there on Valentine’s Day, and he’d only been married for a few weeks when he left. He married a Fort Smith woman, and the couple had established a home there.

Hope described his nephew as an athletic youngster, who played football in high school. “He was a great kid. He was never in trouble, and he was very smart, a good student. “He could just look at a textbook and take a test,” Hope said.

Hope said his nephew was easygoing; very kind, never mean nor mischievous; a young man who always had high standards.

“He joined the Army, because he thought it would be great to climb the ladder, to be somebody, and also out of a sense of patriotism,” Hope said.

“Once he got in, he took his Army career seriously, and he climbed that ladder quickly,” the uncle said.

Owens held the rank of specialist when he died, but was promoted to sergeant posthumously, according to the military.

Hope said his nephew was the oldest of five children, and he noted that most of the family lives in LeFlore County.

His awards and decorations include: two Army Commendation Medals; two Army Achievement Medals; a Valorous Unit Award; the National Defense Service Medal; the Iraq Campaign Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Ribbon; Combat Action Badge; Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver-Wheeled Vehicles; and Weapons Qualification: M4, expert.

Owens’ death was the first for the 3rd Brigade Combat team, only a week after it assumed control of three Afghanistan provinces, a Fort Campbell spokeswoman said.

His death was the first in six months for the 101st Airborne Division, which is deploying some 20,000 of its troops to Afghanistan this year.

Hope said his nephew’s body has already been returned to Dover, DE.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Mallory-Martin Funeral Home at Spiro.

Hope said Owens is survived by his wife, Kaitlyn Owens, of Fort Smith, Ark.; his mother, Sheila Real of Keota; his father, Keith Owens of Berryville, Ark.; A sister, Destiny Owens of Keota; brothers Seth and Slade Owens, and half-brother Dalton Real, all of Keota.

Army Sgt. Vincent L.C. Owens was killed in action on 3/1/10.

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