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Army Sgt. 30, Matagorda, TX


Operation Iraqi Freedom
A Matagorda family lost their son, Sgt. Joshua Ward, as a casualty in Operation Iraqi Freedom Monday, Feb. 9.

According to a news release from the Multi-National Corps - Iraq, Joshua was one of four U.S. Coalition Soldiers killed when a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive devise detonated near their vehicle in Mosul, Iraq.

He is survived by his parents John and Patti Ward, sister Brandi Ward and brother Johnny Ward, all residents of Matagorda, and older brothers Ben and Eric, of the Houston area.

Joshua also leaves behind his two sons Joshua Allen Ward Jr., 9, Zane Tyler Ward, 7, and their mother Misty Ward of Scottsville, Ky.

Other survivors are his girlfriend Diana Gunderson and a third son who is expected in July, residents of Fort Hood.

The family suffered the loss of his maternal grandmother Margaret Lyles of Matagorda just four months ago.

Joshua, a member of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment Mosul, Iraq based in Fort Hood, was serving the beginning of his third deployment to Iraq that was scheduled to last for 16 months when he became the victim of a suicide bomber.

A nine-year Army veteran, he was serving his second term and due to get out of the military for good in September.

"When 9-11 happened, I remember him telling his mother that he wanted to make his boys proud and he just needed to (enlist)," said Brandi.

Patti was visiting a family member Monday morning in Needville when she received word from the Army that Joshua had been killed.

"At first she just couldn't believe it," said Tammy Smith, Joshua's aunt.

"We made several calls to make sure the news had come from a reliable source."

According to Brandi, Joshua was "such a family man."

"He loved his brothers in the Army - they were like another family for him," she said.

Joshua's father John was working as an operations supervisor for KBR in Afghanistan when he received the unwelcome news.

He is expected to arrive in Texas today.

Joshua was a 1997 graduate of Needville High School where he was a star football player - even recruited to play in the Way Down Under Bowl in Australia.

As a teenager he spent free time as a rodeo clown bullfighter.

When asked what one thing that the family would like for people to most remember about Joshua, his heroic sacrifice was the answer.

"My son gave his life for his country, he is a hero and will always be a hero," said Patti.

"The family is very proud of him and we want everyone in America to be proud of him - he did not die in vain," said Brandi.





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