OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, USA U.S. Army SGT, COMPANY B, 1ST BATTALION, 503RD INFANTRY, 2ND INFANTRY DIVISION, APO AP 96251 AR RAMADI, IRAQ 11/28/2004
Heavy fighting in Iraq has claimed the lives of two soldiers, one from Oklahoma City, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Monday.
Sergeant Carl W. Lee, 23, died Sunday in Ramadi, Iraq. His unit was conducting a dismounted patrol when it encountered enemy forces using small-arms fire, the Defense Department said in a news release on its Web site.
Lee and Staff Sergeant Michael B. Shackelford, 25, of Grand Junction, Colo., were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division out of Camp Howze, Korea, officials said.
Claudie Lee said she and the rest of the family hadn’t seen her oldest son, a 2000 graduate of Crooked Oak High School, since last Christmas.
“He had some close calls,” Claudie Lee said. “He said he didn’t know if he’d make it home, and he didn’t. We do still not believe it’s true.”
Lee joined the Army after high school, but was expected to leave after his three-year commitment. Instead, he decided to make the military his career. Rusty McMurtrey, Lee’s 21-year-old brother, credited his older sibling with saving his life. Lee helped him get away from gangs and also helped him with math in high school.
“He was the reason I graduated school and got as far as I did,” McMurtrey said through tears. “Since I can remember, Carl was the only one who’d been there for me.”
Lee loved being a soldier but didn’t want to go to Iraq, McMurtrey said. The two planned to start their own automotive business, he said.
Lee is one of 133 U.S. service members who have lost their lives this month.