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
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
"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
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.