The Department of Defense announced the death of SGT Joshua L Morley, 22, of Hendersonville, North Carolina and SPC Tracy Willis, 21, of Marshall, Texas. They died August 26 in Samarra, Iraq, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked their unit during combat operations. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Over 30 masked insurgents attacked an outpost in Samarra with hand grenades and small arms, triggering a firefight. At least 14 insurgents were captured and more were killed.
The two have been awarded Bronze Star Medals and Purple Heart Medals.
SGT JOSHUA L MORLEY
SGT Morley, 22, a native of North Carolina, and an Army sniper and team leader, was described by his commander, Capt. Carlos Morales, ""It was truly both an honor and a privilege to have served with Sgt. Joshua Morley. He was a fearless paratrooper who epitomized the highest forms of bravery, dedication to duty, and selfless service on a daily basis. Sgt. Morley was a dedicated NCO (noncommissioned officer) that was totally committed to his duties as a Sniper Team Leader and always represented the ideals which make our nation great. During the last 12 months, he risked his life while participating in hundreds of combat operations with his sniper team against insurgent forces within the city of Samarra."
"Josh was a fine young man that wanted to serve his country so that the rest of us could have our freedom," his family said.
SGT Morley Joined the Army in January 2004. He was born in Hendersonville, the son of retired Army Master Sgt. Joseph Morley of Carthage and Waynette Morley of Laurinburg. Before his enlistment into the Army, he traveled much of Asia and the United States because of his father's career. He always knew that he wanted to serve his country and his family as an Army soldier, and he used his short time in service to serve with distinction.
SGT Morley is survived by his daughter, Alexis Ryanne, whom he never met; his wife, Kendra Dawn Morley; his parents,; a sister, Kara Catrina Brown and husband, Chris, and niece, Melody Louise Brown; maternal grandparents, Jimmy and Reba Jacobs; and paternal grandfather, Frank Morley.
SPC TRACY C WILLIS
SPC Willis, 21, an Army Scout from San Antonio, Texas, was described by his commander, Capt. Carlos Morales as "a fearless and confident warrior who epitomized the highest forms of courage, heroism and selfless service on a daily basis."
SPC. Tracy C. Willis, USA, age 21 passed away August 26, 2007 proudly serving his country in Iraq. Tracy was a 2004 graduate of O'Connor High School where he enjoyed playing football and ran track. He then went on to East Texas Baptist University in Marshall where he was also able to play football. Tracy would then join the United States Army serving his basic training at Fort Benning, GA. After basic training he was based at Fort Bragg, NC when he was sent with a unit to Iraq. SPC. Tracy fought the good fight for the sake of his country, and we salute him. He is survived by his parents Wilma & Darryl Willis, siblings Hope & Crystal Willis, Darryl Willis, Jr. & his wife Rita, Anjelica & Aubree Willis, and his niece Amari Willis. Tracy is also survived by his grandparents Cruz M. Camacho, Mary Johnson & Curtis Wilson, three aunts, one unlce and numerous cousins and friends. Visitation will be held Thursday, September 6, 2007 at Sunset Northwest Funeral Home from 6-9:00 P.M. A funeral service will be held 10:30 A.M. Friday, September 7, 2007 at Sunset Northwest Funeral Home with Rev. Randall I. Brown, Sr. officiating. Interment will follow at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery with full military honors.
I learned of these fine young Americans from a soldier who serves with them. Their courage and strength is an inspiration. We mourn with their families, friends and with those who serve with them. Farewell Young Warriors and Walk with God.