Died September 16, 2009
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
SSG Joshua Mills died one month into his deployment on September 16, 2009 in Ghur Ghuri, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his vehicle the previous day, September 15, with an improvised explosive device (IED). Also killed in the attack were SFC Bradley S. Bohie and SFC Shawn P. McCloskey.
When Joshua was a young boy, he aspired to have two careers: A paleontologist (he loved dinosaurs), but more importantly, a Soldier, just like his father. Joshua graduated from the Silva Magnet High School in El Paso, Texas where he was a member of the Junior ROTC and was on the rifle team. Family was important to him, and despite training and deployment, he almost always made it home for Christmas. “He would always try to surprise you,” his brother, Quent, recalled, “He’d come into town, but he wouldn’t tell you. He would just show up on your doorstep.” The family managed to turn the tables on him when they all went to Fort Bragg to celebrate the 4th of July. Even his brother, Travis, who was on active duty with the Air Force and wasn’t anticipated, managed to make the trip. “That was the last time our whole family was together,” Quent concluded.
SSG Mills joined the Army in 2005 as an XRAY and successfully completed the Special Forces Qualification Course in March of 2007. He served Communications Sergeant with his battalion while proudly wearing his Green Beret. Mills also successfully completed the Basic Airborne Course and the Special Forces Sniper Course.
SSG Mills loved the Special Forces and believed in it’s mission. “He didn’t talk about it much,” Quent said, “They’re not supposed to.” As a way of explaining his job to his brother, he translated the unit’s motto, “De oppresso liber,” SSG Mills explained, “It means ‘Free the oppressed’.”
SSG Mills is survived by his father and mother, Tom and Celeste; wife, Magen; son, Malaki; and brothers, Quent and Travis.
SSG Joshua Mills was 24 years old from El Paso, Texas.
Original portrait was presented May 19, 2012, to his family at a special event hosted by America Supports You- Texas in Amarillo, Texas.