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Fort Drum honors soldier who died in Afghanistan


FORT DRUM — A fallen 10th Mountain Division soldier was described as dedicated and intellectually curious at a remembrance ceremony Thursday afternoon on post.

Pfc. Joshua A. Gray, 21, of Van Lear, Ky., died Feb. 10 in a non-combat-related incident at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, that is under investigation. He was a satellite communications system operator maintainer in the division’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion.

Other Soldiers said he was an avid learner, not afraid to talk about philosophy or scientific theory. “He truly loved to teach and help others understand,” Chief Warrant Officer Leon Gordon said in a message read by Pfc. Justin Power. “He wanted to share his abundance of knowledge with anybody willing to learn.”

Pfc. Gray graduated from Johnson Central High School, Paintsville, Ky., in 2011. He was a member of its academic and Skills USA team and prom king, and was voted by his classmates as “most unforgettable.” Joining the National Guard out of high school, he transferred to active duty in 2012. He arrived at Fort Drum in October 2013, just months before the battalion’s deployment in January.

Family of Pfc. Gray in attendance at Thursday’s ceremony were his father, Seth Gray; his father’s fiancee, Retha L. Mollet, and her two children, Dustin and Deloney Mollet.

As one sign of his maturity, Chief Warrant Officer Gordon said Pfc. Gray picked role models from the fields of mathematics and science, when others might choose entertainers or athletes.

“He truly wanted to do things that had the possibility of changing the world,” his message read.

Lt. Col. Raymond T. Simons, rear commander of the headquarters battalion, said Pfc. Gray brought “uniqueness” to the division with his intelligence and humility. “Not many of us are thought of as a 500-pound brain,” he said. “To be as intelligent as Joshua had to be special.”

Col. Simons added Pfc. Gray had an impeccable reputation throughout his career.

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