Thursday, May 26, 2011

Army Staff Sgt. Edward D Mills

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Edward D Mills, 29, of New Castle, Pa.

SSgt Mills was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died May 26, 2011 of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. Also killed were 1st Lt. John M. Runkle, Sgt. Thomas A. Bohall, Spc. Adam J. Patton, Sgt. Louie A. Ramos Velazquez and Staff Sgt. Ergin V. Osman.

SSgt Mills grew up in Union. When he was 11 years old, his father left him, his mother and two siblings. His mother and the family's faith kept them together. As a result, his mother was his hero and meant the world to him. He always made sure she was taken care of.

SSgt Mills graduated from Union High School in 2000 where he was active in a few clubs and track.

Family and friends had always assumed Sgt. Mills would join the military. He was a war buff, reading everything he could and watching
the History Channel with his grandfather, Bill Kirkwood, a World War II veteran, but his mother pushed him to not join after high school, "he needed time to mature."

SSgt Mills spent five years working a variety of factory jobs, but finally joined the Army in January 2005.

Jarod Mills describes his brother as a born leader who was always humble and always put others before himself. "Anytime you talked to him, he was always talking about his guys, those were his guys. He had to watch over his guys," said Mills. "As hard as it is for us and the family, if he had to go, this is the way he wanted to go, over in combat with his guys."

As a Christmas gift to their parents, SSgt Mills, his brothers and sister took a family portrait. "I'm so glad we did that now, knowing that was the last Christmas and the last opportunity we had to do that," said Jarod.

The last time the famly was together was in February, just before he shipped out on his third deployment.

Jarod, pastor at the family's church for three years, will co-conduct his brother's funeral along with the church's former pastor, Rev. Doug Williams. "I'm honored," Jarod said. "...this is going to be hard. I knew I couldn't do it by myself. He'd always say, 'Others have given more.' Now, he's the one to have given it all."

SSgt Mills' awards and decorations include:

Air Medal
Army commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Device
Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbon
NATO Medal
Air Assault Badge
Parachutist Badge
Pathfinder Badge
Combat Infantryman Badge

Ssgt Mills is survived by his mother and stepfather, Kathy and Jeff; father, Edward; wife, Amanda; sister, Tiffany; brothers, Jarod and Lucas.

Army Staff Sgt. Edward D Mills was killed in action on 5/26/11.

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