KIA July 20, 2009
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 4th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery (Strike), 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York
SGT Gregory Owens died on July 20, 2009 from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near his vehicle followed by an attack from enemy forces using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades in Maydan Shahr, Afghanistan. Also killed in the attack were Spc. Anthony M. Lightfoot, Spc. Andrew J. Roughton and Pfc. Dennis J. Pratt. He is survived by his parents, Gregory Sr. and Ladonna; two brothers, Lamar and Jonathan; and sister Shelena.
Gregory had an attitude of thinking of others first. When his sister had her appendix removed one summer, he kept her company for an entire week. “He always put others before himself,” said his mother, LaDonna. “He made time to spend with other people and to listen to them.” Gregory was scheduled to be home the weekend of his death but instead of taking his scheduled leave from duty on July 20, he swapped shifts with another Soldier so that he could be home in mid-October as a surprise for his father’s 50th birthday. His sister Shelena said the shift switch was “just an example of how he sacrificed to put others before him.”
Gregory was born in Germany during his father’s military service and had followed in those footsteps by joining the Army in 2007. He had graduated with honors in 2002 from Hillcrest High School in Dallas, where he kept a full schedule, was a drum major and an Eagle Scout with Troop 709, but still managed to find time to roughhouse and play sports with his younger brothers. “He did everything to keep my mom busy 24/7: band, Boy Scouts, church,” said his sister, Shelena.
Gregory was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with Valor and the Purple Heart.
SGT Gregory Owens was 24 years old from Garland, Texas
Original portrait was presented July 4, 2013 to his mother and family during a special Independence Day half-time event hosted by FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas