Ex-Wrestler from Marion, Indiana Killed in Iraq

From the Marion Chronicle-Tribune http://www.chronicle-tribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041216/NEWS01/412160333/1002

Soldier with county ties killed
Josh Ramsey attended Oak Hill Junior High


MEMORIES – Joy Ramsey holds a photo of her son, Army Pfc. Josh Ramsey, who was killed in Iraq.

Joy Ramsey promised her son she’d wear his military dog chain around her neck until he returned home safely from Iraq.

Sunday, Army Pfc. Josh Ramsey, 19, Defiance, Ohio, died of non-combat injuries. He was assigned to the 95th Military Police Battalion based at Mannheim, Germany.

She still wears the chain.

“He loved his job, “said Joy Ramsey, Marion. “He loved the Iraqi people, especially the kids. He was assigned to distribute soccer balls and school supplies. I know he died doing what he wanted to do, and I find comfort in that.”

Details surrounding Josh Ramsey’s death still are under investigation. Joy Ramsey said she was told her son was shot, but military officials have been slow to release further details. She said it could be a week or more before his body is shipped from Iraq to the United States.

Funeral arrangements are pending. His body will be laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery, Defiance, Ohio.

Joy Ramsey learned of her son’s fate when her sister, Cheryl Westcott, Gas City, received a call from family members in Ohio, where Joshua Ramsey’s father, Bruce, and stepmother, LeAnn, live. Westcott said she hated to deliver the bad news late Sunday night, but she said Joy needed to know.

Later Sunday evening, a military official appeared at Joy’s doorstep to confirm what she already knew.

Joshua Ramsey’s tour in Iraq was to have ended in February, a year after he was deployed. He would have turned 20 years old Feb. 1.

Mother and son recently spent time together during a two-week vacation in August. Joshua split his time between his homes in Marion and Ohio. In Marion, he went fishing, golfing and even purchased a new Pontiac Grand Am. For dinner, he asked his mother to “fry up those little brown things.”

Joy said the brown things are actually chicken livers, one of her son’s favorite meals.

“You have to support your son in whatever they do, “Joy Ramsey said. “He said, ‘Mom, I have one of the most dangerous jobs in the Army, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.'”

Joshua Ramsey attended Oak Hill Junior High School for eighth grade. During that year, he lived with his grandparents, Margaret and Robert Ramsey, in Converse. Margaret said Joshua loved to golf. He was also on the wrestling team and ran track.

Margaret said when Joshua was home in August, she didn’t think he needed to purchase a brand new car.

“It seemed rather foolish to buy a car, “Margaret said. “But, when it’s 150 degrees, you need something to dream about and to plan for. If it helped him through the tough times, it was well worth it. We took pictures of him with his new car so he could show his buddies.”

In Ohio, Joshua Ramsey was a member of the Class of 2003 at Four County Career Center, in Defiance. Public safety teacher Tonya Fisher said the school was having a hard time dealing with Joshua’s death, the first such causality that students there have been associated with since the war in Iraq started.

“He was a good student and a good classmate, “Fisher said. “He worked really hard in class and was really dedicated. He knew he wanted to go to the military.”

Ramsey spent time at his former school during his break in August talking to students in the public safety class. He also made arrangements to have the American flag that was flown at his station in Iraq transferred to his former high school.

“He gave us hugs, “Fisher said, “and told teachers, ‘Everything you said was right.’

“He’s very family-oriented. He struggled with leaving his family, but he really believed in what he was fighting for.”

Fisher said school officials are working to have a special flag ceremony, and members of the Class of 2003 have made arrangements to have a plaque delivered to his family.

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