Monday, October 04, 2010

Army Spc. Joseph T. Prentler

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Joseph T. Prentler, 20, of Fenwick, Mich.

Spc. Prentler was assigned to 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany; died Oct. 4, 2010 in Mama Kariz, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his military vehicle using an improvised explosive device.

A soldier from Michigan who died after being wounded in an attack in Afghanistan decided when he was 8 years old that he wanted to serve in the Army, just like his grandfather, family members said Tuesday.

A squad had checked and secured the road before the drive, but officials told Prentler's family a sniper must have placed an IED on the road right before Prentler drove by, according to the U.S. Army. It's unclear if others were with him when he died.

His aunt, Tina Fockler, said she's having a difficult time accepting his death. "He wasn't in the fighting area," she said. "This wasn't supposed to happen. They tell me he's gone, but in my heart, I know he's still alive."

Prentler grew up on a farm just outside Carson City. His little brother told 24 Hour News 8 he wanted to be just like Joey. He plans on joining the military, as well. "I want to be like him," Dakota Prentler said. "I want to live the same life and experience all the same things."

"Going from when you're 8 and making that decision and sticking with it, that's really honorable," Prentler's cousin, Sonya Jakeway, told The Daily News of Greenville. "It was always an interest for him."

Prentler, who was known as "Joey," attended Carson City-Crystal High School and graduated in 2008.

On Tuesday, his Mom, Tammy Prentler told The Grand Rapids Press that many in the small community offered condolences. "He's just an all-around sweet person, just concerned about everybody and anybody," Tammy said. "He's just a good kid, friendly. He tried to make everybody laugh. Everybody loved him."

Superintendent of Schools Bob Swanson says the school district just got word of the tragedy today, and that a community-wide ceremony will likely be planned to honor Prentler, but there are no details yet.

Tammy says he joined the Army shortly after graduating and had left for Afghanistan on Father's Day of 2010. He was killed this weekend when the military vehicle he was driving in was attacked by insurgents with an improvised explosive device.

"It's the worst nightmare in a mother's life knowing his 21st birthday is right around the corner and he's never going to see that, i'm not going to see my grand kids, i'll never see him get married," said Tammy.

Army Spc. Joseph T. Prentler was killed in action on 10/4/10.

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