Green Bay area soldier killed in action
Bay Port grad died in Afghanistan
Updated: Monday, 28 Mar 2011, 8:36 AM CDT
Published : Sunday, 27 Mar 2011, 10:52 AM CDT
HOWARD - A Green Bay area soldier has died in the line of duty.
The Department of Defense says 22-year-old Specialist Justin Ross of Howard was killed Saturday in Afghanistan.
According to the DOD, Ross served with the 863rd engineer battalion based in Wausau.
A representative at New Freedom Church in Howard tells FOX 11 that the U.S. Army contacted Pastor Ron Ross this weekend telling him that his son died.
“Even before he graduated high school he was talking about going into the military,” said Gerald Heins, the assistant pastor at New Freedom.
Ross graduated from Bay Port High School in Howard in 2007. Shortly after, he joined the U.S. Army.
Last summer, Ross was deployed to Afghanistan for his first tour of duty overseas.
“He was just a wonderful young guy,” said Heins. “He was private. He didn't spend a lot of time with people that weren't really close to him so he had a few very close friends and his family, but he was always a very good man.”
Heins says Pastor Ron Ross and his wife Debbie flew to Dover Air Force Base Sunday morning for the return of their son's body.
Before leaving, Pastor Ross wrote on his Facebook page, "We thank God for freedom and all those... who have paid the ultimate price. We are proud of you Justin!"
“Being this soon into the grieving process you are still in shock,” said Heins. “You are still trying to make sense of it, trying to understand what happened.”
Heins says the church and its members don't know many details of Ross's passing. He says Ross will be remembered as a wonderful man who was proud to serve his country.
“From what I understand he really enjoyed it,” said Heins. “He loved the guys from his squad and he enjoyed the process and the idea of being able to defend his country.”
The Department of Defense says Ross died of wounds he suffered when his unit was attacked by small arms fire.
Dates and times for Ross's funeral are still being finalized, but New Freedom Church says services will be held at First Assembly of God on Green Bay's west side.