U.S. Army Specialist Joseph A. L. (Joey) Strong, 21, Lebanon, Indiana.
Died as a result of a Humvee rollover crash in Iraq on December 26, 2006, while on patrol. He and another soldier in the vehicle died of their injuries. He was a member of 3rd BN, 509th Parachute Infantry Reg, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.
Strong graduated in 2003 from Western Boone High School, where he was a standout baseball player. His mother, Terri Batts, said Army personnel delivered the news of his death to her home Tuesday night. She said her son joined the Army specifically to go to Iraq.
"He wanted to go to Iraq. He wanted to defend his county after 9/11," she said.
Strong's stepfather, Tracy Batts, said that no parent would want to send their child to war, but he knew that he couldn't stop him.
"It hit hard this morning," Tracy Batts said of his stepson's death. "It's just unreal."
He had wanted to join the Marine Corps when he was 17 after meeting with recruiters soon after the 2001 terrorist attacks, said his mother, Terri Batts.
"They came to the house with paperwork, and I would not sign," she said Wednesday. "I got mad. He waited a couple of years and then said he wanted to go into the Army."
He had hoped to become a police officer after leaving the military, Batts said. Merv McNair, pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Lebanon, said Strong was a caring person with a great sense of humor. "He was a man of good character," McNair said. "He was a likable man; I really loved him."