An LDS soldier who loved reading, running and being with his family died July 17 on a combat mission in Iraq.
U.S. Army Sgt. Nathan S. Barnes, 23, of American Fork, Utah, was reportedly killed by enemy gunfire as he prepared to exit a landing helicopter in south Baghdad. Brother Barnes served in the 10th Mountain Division, a light infantry unit based at Fort Drum, N.Y.
Brother Barnes' father, Kevin Barnes, told the Deseret Morning News he is certain his son volunteered for what would be his final mission.
"He was always volunteering he told us, 'I don't like to sit around,"' Kevin Barnes said.
A graduate of American Fork High School, Nathan Barnes ran cross-country in high school and sometimes complained, ironically, that he did not get to run enough in the Army. He joined the military at 19.
He was deployed to Iraq last August and was expected to return home around Christmas. The fallen soldier was an avid camper and hiker. He also enjoyed a close relationship with his family, communicating often with siblings and other relatives via e-mails from Iraq.
"He's the smartest person I know a ravenous reader," Lisa Blake, the soldier's sister, told the Deseret Morning News.
Family members also remember their fallen son and brother as a soldier who fought for freedom and enjoyed befriending the Iraqi children.
A funeral was scheduled for July 28.