Army Sgt. Joshua A. Lengstorf
24, of Yoncalla, Ore.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Jan. 3 in Ashoque, Afghanistan, from wounds sustained when insurgents attacked their unit with multiple improvised explosive devices and small-arms fire. Also killed were Spc. Brian R. Bowman and Pvt. John P. Dion.
(Taken from oregonatwar.oregonlive.com) As he witnessed the danger and insecurity that made up daily life for the Iraqi people, Sgt. Joshua A. Lengstorf of Yoncalla knew he found his calling.
"He wanted to make a difference for them over there," Chuck Collins said of his tall, always-outgoing stepson. "It was so different. Their having to go hide themselves. ... It was a different world, and he was hoping while he was there to help them and to help us."
His desire to make a difference persisted even though his next deployment, to Afghanistan, meant that he had to leave behind his wife and a new baby girl, Collins said.
"He was dead set on the positive," Collins said, adding that Lengstorf assured his wife that they would see each other again and that good would come out of his efforts. "He was just always the outgoing, happy person. Whatever he did was 100 percent."
Lengstorf, four months from returning home, was one of four soldiers killed in a Sunday battle with insurgents in Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense.
"Josh was a great son, brother, husband, father and friend," his cousin Cody Collins wrote in an e-mail. "He died doing what he loved. I respect him for that. He will be a hero in many peoples' heart."
Lengstorf loved the outdoors, said Chuck Collins, who is Cody Collins' uncle. Lengstorf would spend long hours hunting, fishing and riding horses. A high school quarterback and safety, he also was an "unbelievable" fan of the University of Oregon Ducks football team, managing to watch the Rose Bowl from Afghanistan.
He graduated from Elkton High School in 2004 and joined the Army in August 2006, figuring it would help him find direction. He had never been out of the country and was "wanting to learn and grow," Collins said. But after going to Iraq and developing strong bonds with the other soldiers in his unit, he realized the Army was his future, Collins said.
His deployment also led him to his future as a husband and father.
While in Iraq, he reconnected over e-mail with Jesse, a girl he knew while growing up in Elkton, Collins said. They had attended grade school and high school together until Jesse moved to Idaho with her family. When he returned from Iraq, the two decided to marry.
When their daughter was born 14 months ago, they named her Kadence. The name reflects Lengstorf's love of football and the military, Collins said, noting the cadence that quarterbacks use in calling the snap count and the military cadences that soldiers chant.
Lengstorf leaves his mother, Ronda Crewse, who is married to Chuck Collins; brothers, Brian, 21, and Corey, 14; father, Eric Lengstorf of Lacey, Wash.; grandparents and several