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Army Sgt. Samuel E. Kelsey

Died December 13, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


24, of Troup, Texas; assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died Dec. 13 in Tunnis, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated.

East Texas soldier killed in Iraq

TYLER, Texas — A 24-year-old soldier from the East Texas town of Troup has died in combat during his second tour in Iraq, his family and the military said.

Sgt. Samuel E. Kelsey died Thursday in Tunnis, Iraq, from wounds he suffered in an explosion, the Department of Defense said in a release.

Denina Kelsey said her son had run to help a fellow soldier whose legs were injured in an explosion. The second improvised explosive device went off while Kelsey was trying to help the soldier.

“He felt strongly about wanting his men, every one of them, to come home,” Denina Kelsey said. “He was saving somebody else’s life, and my child lost his life.”

Denina Kelsey said she was devastated by the loss of her only child.

“He was my life, my breath, everything I did in my life I did for my child,” she said. “He was my only child, and I am his only parent.”

Samuel Kelsey graduated from Troup High School in 2001. He was part of an active and tight-knit class, family friend Ava Johnson said.

“They were every teacher’s favorites, and they just were all there for each other — still very close,” Johnson said.

She said Kelsey’s friends and classmates were calling each other for support.

“We all celebrate together, and we all grieve together,” Johnson said of Troup, which has about 2,100 residents and is located 105 miles southeast of Dallas.

The women said Kelsey had a good sense of humor and made friends easily.

“What anybody else would call friends, Sam called family,” Denina Kelsey said.

Kelsey was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

Funeral services were pending.

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