An Iowa soldier’s been killed in Afghanistan. Iowa National Guard spokesman Liuetenant Colonel Greg Hapgood made the announcement late yesterday.Twenty-two-year-old James C. Kearney the third of Emerson was killed in an ambush in eastern Afghanistan, near Pakistan. Specialist Kearney was in a Shenandoah-based batallion that was providing security for the reconstruction team in Afghanistan. Two other Iowa soldiers were injured.Twenty-two-year-old Specialist Michael Johnson of Red Oak and 29-year-old Specialist Kenneth Luke of Protovin are in very serious condition. Hapgood says the three soldiers were all riding in the same humvee in a convoy when it was attacked by a rocket propelled grenade. The attack happened just after eight o’clock Monday morning, Afghanistan time. Luke lost his left arm. Johnson has scrapnel wounds to his lower body. Kearney, the soldier who died, graduated from Nishna Valley High School in 2001. His mother and father — Theresa and James Kearney, Junior — live in Emerson. He is also survived by two brothers and a sister.Hapgood read from a statement released by the family. He says Kearney’s family called him a “true patriot” who served his country proudly. “Dedicated, fun and fearless” are words used by his friends and family to describe the fallen soldier.The family asks that contributions be made to the USO in Kearney’s name rather than gifts of flowers or cards. This is the first Iowa soldier killed in Afghanistan. Over one-thousand Iowans are currently serving. Thirteen-hundred soldiers are in the Persian Gulf — 500 of them are in Iraq and 800 are in Afghanistan. Another 500 Iowa Guard soldiers are training stateside, preparing to leave for the Persian Gulf later this year.
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