KIA April 18, 2005
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 170th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, Fort Lewis, Washington
PFC Sam Huff died April 18, 2005 from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near her combat vehicle the night before when her combat patrol was returning from the al Dora police station in Baghdad, Iraq.
Sam was a petite young lady, just over 5 feet tall, and graduated from Tucson’s Mountain View High School in 2004. She didn’t play any major sports and was best known for her striking beauty and sharp fashion sense. The high school marching band drum major was also feisty and persistent, a conductor with a loud voice and commanding presence who had precise career goals: a tour of duty in the military, a college degree in psychology and a job at the FBI profiling criminals. “In school when she wanted to do something, she excelled,” Huff’s father said, recalling her performance in a dance group. “She had a smile as big as (the grill of) an Edsel.”
According to her battalion commander, LTC J. Switzer, she was not a typical Soldier. Two weeks after her arriving in our unit, even I knew who she was,” he said. “Battalion commanders get to know their Soldiers for two reasons. They got in trouble or they are very unique individuals. Private Huff was a unique individual. Her smile could light up a room. She could lighten the mood of any hardcore noncommissioned officer and even bring a smile to an old warrior’s face.” Sam’s Team Leader, SGT S. Jones, stated “If I wrote down what I want in a Soldier, Huff would still be better… Beneath that beautiful young lady was a backbone of steel.”
Robert says he’ll never forget what an Army official told him about his daughter’s last moments. As she was bleeding, she told a Sergeant next to her that she wanted him to pass along a message to her parents. “He said, ‘No, you’ll be able to make the call yourself.’ Then she said: ‘No, I don’t think I can make it. Tell my mom I love her, and tell my Dad good luck with his album.’” Sam was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, and Good Conduct Medal.
PFC Sam W. Huff was 18 years old from Tucson, Arizona.
Original portrait was presented in 2016 to her father.
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