KIA October 14, 2004
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment,
1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas
Died October 14, 2004 when his unit came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire in Baghdad, Iraq. Josiah was on patrol as a volunteer, part of a security detail to guard observers, when he noticed movement in a building window. As he was alerting his unit, he was shot by a sniper, killing him instantly. His unit, at great risk and danger to themselves while under intense fire, called in a Bradley Humvee and brought him back to base.
Josiah Vandertulip had been home only three months after a yearlong tour in South Korea when he volunteered to fight in Iraq. “I got really upset with him. I didn’t want him to go,” said his mother, Louise. “I kept feeling he’s just a kid. He doesn’t know what he’s doing.” But the 21-year-old figured that if he volunteered for duty, he might be able to keep some husband and father from having to leave a family behind to go to war.
Vandertulip, one of four brothers and a sister, was active in church and enjoyed playing ice hockey and downhill skiing. He entered the Army shortly after graduating from high school. Family members described him as a cut-up who liked to do things differently, even coloring his brown hair blond, then green, before cutting it into a Mohawk and shaving it off. “Although he could be immature and obnoxious, he would do so in a laugh inducing, humorous way, making it very hard to remain angry with him,” as described by his mother. “He was a goofy kid who had become a man, but because he was our child, we didn’t see that as clearly. He made really responsible decisions that were at odds with the kid we thought he was. He was honest and blunt, and wasn’t afraid to point out hypocrisy. He was willing to put his beliefs in action, even when it cost him something or he was pressured to conform.”
SPC Josiah Vandertulip was 21 years old from Irving, Texas
Original portrait was presented March 24, 2014 to his family during a special event held at Irving High School, hosted by American Airlines and the Fort Worth Airpower Foundation
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