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Spencer T. Karol


SPC Spencer “Spence” Karol lived in the small town of Woodruff, just east of Holbrook, Arizona. He ran middle-distance events for the track team at Holbrook High. He wanted to play soccer, but was obliged to baby-sit his siblings instead. He was a quiet kid who never made trouble – a good decent person. If the roof was leaking or the pipes broke, he would fix them for his mom. In four years of high school, he was absent a total of nine days and late for school only once.

Spence developed a big interest in rodeo and was an excellent roper. But somehow he always knew he was going into the military. His plan was to serve in the Army to make money in order to pay his way through college. He talked about that all the time from his sophomore year on. Teachers described Spencer as the kind of student you’d like to have more of, not the jock, but serious about getting into college. His grades were good, not outstanding.

Then the Army happened – basic training did wonders for Spence, no longer the gangly, quiet kid he was in high school. Going back to Holbrook High School just months after enlisting in the Army for a visit, Spence was bulked up, physically a new man. He was driving a red sports car, and attracting lots of attention. The Bullies who had picked on him in high school didn’t want any part of him now. After a life of anonymity, Spence had come into his own – he had become the person he always hoped to be.

SPC Karol was on a mission to observe enemy activity when a command detonated device exploded near Ar Ramadi. He was killed when he the vehicle he was riding in was overturned by the blast and he was fatally injured.

Bridgette Madison, SPC Karol’s mother, expressed how much her son loved what he was doing. It is said of SPC Karol that he was killed doing the job for which he was trained and the job he wanted to do.  He developed a reputation for accepting the toughest missions in a platoon that routinely made enemy contact. Spencer Karol represented an ideal of service to the nation and volunteerism.


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