ROWLAND, NC, USA U.S. Army 1LT, COMPANY C, 2D BATTALION, 35TH INFANTRY, SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HI BALAD, IRAQ 10/15/2006
First Lieutenant Joshua Deese, 25, was a “true Southern gentleman,” wanted to make the Army a career and had a young son with his high school sweetheart in North Carolina.
The two soldiers had already survived a deployment to Afghanistan. But neither could survive a roadside bomb explosion that ripped through their vehicle Sunday in Iraq.
“Just a difficult time; just taking it one minute at a time,” Rogena Deese, Joshua’s mother, said yesterday from Rowland, N.C.
The two Schofield Barracks soldiers were killed in Kirkuk in northern Iraq during combat operations, the Pentagon said yesterday. They were with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment.
Lootens, 25, from Lyons, N.Y., and Deese are the sixth and seventh Hawaii-based soldiers to be killed during a yearlong deployment to Iraq by more than 7,000 Schofield soldiers that began about two months ago.
Rogena Deese said that her son also was proud of what he was doing.
“He believed that there had to be sacrifices made for America’s freedom,” she said, adding that he was discouraged at how the media had represented the soldiers in the war.
“All of the soldiers want to be represented as trying to do something honorable – trying to protect the freedom of America,” Rogena Deese said.
Deese was commissioned in August 2003 after graduating from Pembroke State University. He came to Schofield Barracks in August 2004. His uncle was his Junior ROTC instructor in high school.
“He just really got into it. He followed in his (uncle’s) footsteps,” Rogena Deese said. Her son wanted to make the Army a career. She described him as outgoing, “a true southern gentleman, real well-mannered. Just an ideal son.”
He was his company’s executive officer.
“He wanted to be there for his men, take care of them, make sure things were done right for them,” his mother said. Joshua Deese was planning on marrying his high school sweetheart after the deployment and captain’s school. The couple has a 2-year-old son.