Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Army Pfc. Justin B. Shoecraft

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Justin B. Shoecraft, 28, of Elkhart, Ind.

Pfc. Shoecraft was assigned to 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany; died Aug. 24, 2010 at Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device at Kakarak, Afghanistan.

Elkhart native Pfc. Justin Shoecraft, 28, died Tuesday in Afghanistan from a road-side bomb. Now, his family is trying to make sense of the tragedy.

"I'm very proud that he joined the army, and I'm proud that he wanted to serve his country. I'm just not proud that they took him," Donna Shoecraft, Justin Shoecraft's mother, said as she held back her tears. "I never thought I'd have to go through this."

Now, Justin Shoecraft's parents, Blue and Donna, are living a parents' worst nightmare. "You never want to bury your child first," Donna Shoecraft said.

It was about 5 p.m. Tuesday evening when the parents saw two men in uniform approach their house. "I saw them pull in the driveway, and I knew right off the bat, that wasn't good," Blue Shoecraft said.

Pfc. Shoecraft joined the Army about two years ago. He was stationed in Germany with the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Calvary Regiment. He was in Afghanistan for only five weeks.

His father remembers him not only as a soldier but also as his hard-working son. "If you said, 'Hey, I need help with something,' he was there to help you," Blue Shoecraft said. Together they worked on the two things they both loved — old cars and old bicycles.

As Blue and Donna Shoecraft look back at the good memories of their hero, veteran and son, they're reminded of the pain they're feeling right now. "I never wanted to go through this, and I hope another parent never has to go through this," Donna Shoecraft said.

Donna Shoecraft said she thinks troops aren't properly trained before going overseas. "I want them to start informing them better what they are getting themselves into," she said.

Army Pfc. Justin B. Shoecraft was killed in action on 8/24/10.

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