Army Sgt. Vincent L.C. Owens
Died March 01, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
21, of Fort Smith, Ark.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died March 1 at Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained earlier that day when enemy forces attacked his vehicle using direct fire in Yosuf Khel.
(The following was taken from www.tulsaworld.com of March 6, 2010) SPIRO — A soldier from Oklahoma who was killed this week in Afghanistan was described by family Friday as an easygoing young man who joined the Army out of a sense of patriotism and a desire to climb the military ladder.
According to the Pentagon, Sgt. Vincent L.C. Owens, 21, died Monday at Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered earlier that day when enemy forces attacked his transport vehicle using direct fire in Yosuf Khel.
He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
The Pentagon listed his hometown as Fort Smith, Ark., but the family said he had spent most of his life growing up in the Spiro-Keota area in northern LeFlore County.
Owens had been in Afghanistan just two weeks when his family received the grim news Tuesday of his death, according to his uncle, Gary Hope of Spiro.
Hope said Owens left for his second tour of Afghanistan on Valentine's Day, two weeks after he married a Fort Smith woman.
Hope described his nephew as an athletic youngster who played football in high school.
"He was a great kid. He was never in trouble, and he was very smart, a good student.
"He could just look at a textbook and take a test," Hope said.
Hope said his nephew was easygoing, very kind, never mean nor mischievous — a young man who always had high standards.
"He joined Army, because he thought it would be great to climb the ladder — to be somebody — and also out of a sense of patriotism," Hope said.
"Once he got in, he took his Army career seriously, and he climbed that ladder quickly," the uncle said.
Owens held the rank of specialist when he died but was promoted to sergeant posthumously, according to the military.
Hope said his nephew was the oldest of five children, and he noted that most of the family lives in LeFlore County.
According to a spokeswoman at Fort Campbell, Owens joined the Army in August 2007 and arrived at Fort Campbell in January 2008.
His awards and decorations include two Army Commendation Medals; two Army Achievement Medals; a Valorous Unit Award; the National Defense Service Medal; the Iraq Campaign Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Ribbon; Combat Action Badge; Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver-Wheeled Vehicles; and Weapons Qualification: M4, expert.
Owens' death was the first for the 3rd Brigade Combat team. It came only a week after they assumed control of three Afghanistan provinces, a Fort Campbell spokeswoman said.
His death was the first in six months for the 101st Airborne Division, which is deploying some 20,000 of its troops to Afghanistan this year.
Hope said his nephew's body had been returned to Dover, Md.
Funeral arrangements are pending at Mallory-Martin Funeral Home in Spiro.
Owens is survived by his wife, Kaitlyn Owens of Fort Smith, Ark.; his mother, Sheila Real of Keota; his father, Keith Owens of Berryville, Ark.; a sister, Destiny Owens of Keota; brothers Seth and Slade Owens of Keota; and a half-brother, Dalton Real of Keota.