The Army has identified Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler as the American soldier who was killed during a raid by Kurdish and American forces to free hostages held by the Islamic State. Wheeler, 39, died from enemy gunfire while in combat near Hawija, Iraq. He was born in Roland, Okla., and graduated in 1994 from Muldrow High School in Muldrow, Okla. Over the course of his military career, Sergeant Wheeler had earned 11 Bronze Star Medals, four of them with valor, which are awarded for “heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy.” In 2004, he was assigned to Army Special Operations Command, which includes the elite commando unit, known as Delta Force, and was deployed 11 times in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.