Screaming Eagles Through Time
Sgt. Justin W. Garvey

Army Sgt. Justin W. Garvey, 23, of Townsend, Mass.; assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 1-187 Infantry Battalion, Fort Campbell, Ky.; killed during a patrol when the vehicle he occupied was ambushed and struck by a rocket-propelled grenade July 20 at Tallifar, Iraq.

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PROCTOR, Vt. (AP) A 23-year-old infantry sergeant killed in an ambush in Iraq was a dedicated soldier who wanted to return home in time for his first wedding anniversary next month, friends and family said.

Sgt. Justin W. Garvey of the 101st Airborne in Fort Campbell, Ky., was one of two infantrymen assigned to 3rd Brigade, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, who died of wounds sustained in the attack Sunday in Tal Afar, Iraq, the Pentagon announced.

``He was my brother, my best friend,'' his sister, Kristin Garvey, 21, told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. ``It just doesn't seem real.''

Justin Garvey grew up in Proctor and was married last year to his high school sweetheart, Katie, who was literally the girl next door when the family lived in Vermont.

``I am so proud of him and I have always been proud of him,'' Katie Garvey, told the Rutland Herald Monday from her home in Oak Grove, Ky.

``I love him with all of my heart,'' she said. ``I don't know what else to say.''

Justin Garvey had been stationed at Fort Campbell since July 2000. He had served in the Army since 1997 and was trying to get home in time for his anniversary.

His aunt, Cynthia Blanchard of Milton, Mass., said Garvey was scheduled to get out of the Army July 18, but his discharge was pushed back until November at the start of the war in Iraq.

Blanchard said her nephew planned to join his wife in Kentucky, where she was attending nursing school, after he got out.

Garvey joined Army National Guard in 1996, when he was a junior at Proctor High School. A year later, he signed up for basic training.

His cousin, David Blanchard, said Garvey was proud when he completed a series of weapons and combat mission tests required to earn his infantry badge.

``Justin chose to be an infantry man, that's what he did,'' Blanchard said.

The other victim of the attack was identified as Sgt. Jason D. Jordan, 24, of Elba, Ala. A third soldier was injured. The area of the convoy attack, 240 miles northwest of Baghdad, had been relatively peaceful in recent weeks.

Cristine Hill, a friend of the family, said funeral arrangements will not be finalized until Garvey's body is returned to the United States. The service and burial will be held in Fair Haven, Hill said.

News of Garvey's death in Iraq shocked his high school friends and teachers in Proctor, who remembered him as a motivated and witty all-American kid.

``Proctor is so small; it's hard to believe something so far away hits so close to home,'' said Robert Bliss, who coached Garvey on the high school soccer team that won the state championship in 1996.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.