GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A soldier from Battle Creek died Tuesday when his unit was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Thursday.
Family members said they learned of the death of Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Throckmorton on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Battle Creek Central High School graduate was a married father of three girls who had a passion for the Army, the man's former stepmother told 24 Hour News 8. He served in Iraq before fighting in Afghanistan.
Throckmorton was "a wonderful man" and "a great father," said Kathy Andersen, who knew the man and his family through the local American Legion post. "He will be missed."
Andersen remembered the 28-year-old as a young man willing to help, often volunteering with his grandfather to assist the post.
While at Battle Creek Central, Throckmorton played varsity football for coach Doug Bess. The coach's son graduated the same year as Throckmorton.
"The thing that we remembered about him more than anything is that he just was a really nice guy," Bess recalled. "He never had anything bad to say about anybody."
The coach said Throckmorton was a leader on the offensive line who kept people together and fought against opponents much bigger than he was.
He was so proud to go on to the military, Bess said.
The 28-year-old was in Paktia province, Afghanistan when enemy forces attacked his unit Tuesday with an IED, the Department of Defense reported. Spc. Jordan Schumann, 24, of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., and Spc. Preston Suter, 22, of Sandy, Utah, were also killed. The three were assigned to a military police battalion based in Germany.
When Throckmorton told his coaches about his commitment to the Army, Bess remembered he and a friend thinking "that's the type of kid that we need in our military. Those guys are the guys that you need."
At the request of the family, they will receive friends at the Farley-Estes & Dowdle Funeral Home from 2:00 to 4:00 & 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 19.
Funeral services to celebrate Josh's life and heroism will be held at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 20 at the First Wesleyan Church of Battle Creek. Interment with full military honors will follow at the Fort Custer National Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the family to help establish an educational fund for Josh's children.
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