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MSGT Joshua Wheeler

Joshua WheelerJosh Wheeler came from very humble beginnings in Muldrow, Oklahoma. The oldest of five siblings, he knew from a young age that hard work would ensure he and his family would have food on the table.

After enlisting in the army, he quickly, however, not easily, would advance to become a Ranger in Washington state, then moved onto Special Operations in NC.

On October 22, 2015, during a hostage rescue mission, Josh became the first US soldier killed by ISIS. Seventy hostages were released, making it one of the biggest hostage rescues by US Special Operations in history.

Josh was highly decorated with 11 Bronze Stars four with Valor, along with many, many more medals. Josh was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart, and Medal of Patriotism from Cherokee Nation.

He was a loving father of four boys, three from a previous marriage and the youngest being born just before his death. Josh loved his family, he always talked about how important it was to him.

He was passionate about reading and continuing to learn and grow as a person. He loved fishing and hunting, especially the times with his boys and was looking forward to sharing his adventures with his youngest, David, who was less than three months old when Josh valiantly gave his life.

He visited all his family in Oklahoma as often as he could and cherished every moment he was with them, but he also did that with everything and one in his life. He didn’t believe in wasting time on things that weren’t important to him. Josh was also thrilled about the roots he was planting in NC and was proud to call NC his home!