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Death announced of Missouri National Guard sergeant with family at FLW
Death announced of Missouri National Guard sergeant with family at FLW

Sgt. Paul Faris Brooks
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (May 25, 2009) — On the same day that Missouri National Guard officials welcomed home a unit of helicopter repair soldiers, they announced the death of a guardsman from a different unit, Sgt. Paul Faris Brooks, who was one of three soldiers killed in a single incident in Iraq last week.

Brooks is the tenth member of the Missouri National Guard to be killed during operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Sunday afternoon was a day of happiness and relief for about 50 members of the 1-106th Assault Helicopter Battalion, who were activated for duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in June of last year and returned to the Kit Bond Aviation Facility at Fort Leonard Wood. An additional twenty members of the unit will return about May 29, according to Missouri National Guard officials.

According to National Guard spokesman Matt Wilson, that unit operated out of Basrah, Tallil and Gary Owen Air Field in southeast Iraq, with a mission of conducting air movement operations, air assault, battlefield circulation, cargo transport, reconnaissance and medical evacuation in support of coalition and Iraqi Army forces. While in theater, the 1-106th executed more than 4,500 flight hours, moved more than 5,700 passengers, transported more than 183,000 pounds of cargo, conducted 20 air assault missions and more than 140 medical evacuations, as well as quick response force and helicopter emergency reconnaissance observer missions.

However, National Guard officials also announced the death of Brooks, 34, whose wife and seven children live at Fort Leonard Wood.

Brooks, a member of the Missouri National Guard, had been assigned to the headquarters and headquarters company of 1/252 Combined Arms Battalion of the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team when he and two other soldiers, Maj. Jason E. George, of Tehachapi, Calif., and 1st Lt. Leevi K. Barnard, of Mount Airy, N.C., were killed by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol.

Much of Brooks’ military career was as a guardsman and reservist rather than the active-duty Army. According to a Missouri National Guard press release, Brooks enlisted in the Arkansas National Guard in 1997, later serving in the Army Reserve. He joined the Missouri National Guard in July 2004 and was a member of the 935th Aviation Support Battalion in Springfield.

He was killed while on his second deployment to Iraq and had volunteered for that deployment through the National Guard Bureau. He had previously served in Iraq from September 2006 to November 2007 as a member of the 20th Combat Aviation Brigade, which is based in Sedalia.

Brooks, whose name has been submitted by his commanders for the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, had previously received numerous other military awards during his service in the National Guard and Army Reserve. Those include the Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal, second award; National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal, with two bronze stars; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two mobilization devices; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; Missouri Expeditionary Ribbon, second award; the Missouri Five Year Long Service Ribbon and Combat Action Badge. The ARCOM medal was received during his first mobilization to Iraq where, according to a Missouri National Guard press release, he was cited for outstanding performance as the battalion’s only medic and “did a fantastic job taking care of soldiers’ health-related needs.”

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

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