The U.S. Army has identified the second soldier killed along with an Edmond staff sergeant when their patrol came under enemy fire in Afghanistan earlier this week.
Staff Sgt. Rex L. Schad, of Edmond, 26, and Capt. Andrew M. Pedersen-Keel, 28, of South Miami, Fla., died Monday in Jalrez District, Afghanistan, when they were attacked by small arms fire, according to an Army news release.
Jalrez District is located just to the west of Kabul. In 2009, the Jalrez Valley was the first area in Afghanistan where President Barack Obama’s strategy of increasing troop levels was applied.
On Monday, two U.S. Forces-Afghanistan service members died in eastern Afghanistan when an individual wearing an Afghan National Security Forces uniform turned a weapon on U.S. and Afghan forces, according to the Afghanistan International Security Assistance Force. The soldiers were not identified in the release.
Services for Schad are pending under the direction of Baggerley Funeral Home in Edmond.
Schad was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga. An infantryman, Schad joined the Army in February 2006 and arrived at his unit in March 2011. Pedersen-Keel, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.
Schad, who graduated from Edmond Memorial High School, was honored in a dignified transfer Tuesday.
He is being remembered by family members and U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond, who said he joins family members and friends grieved by the loss of another Oklahoma soldier and son bravely serving his country in a hostile environment.
“Our Oklahoma military community honors and mourns a brother who has given his last full measure of devotion in defense of freedom,” Lankford said via a statement. “My thoughts and prayers extend to the Schad family for their loss and to all our military families whose brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, fathers and mothers have been taken too soon.”
Lankford said he prays that God will fulfill His promise from Psalm 34: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
“May his family find comfort in their time of deep need and wisdom to know how to navigate this trying time,” he said.
In 1995, family members moved from Stroud to Edmond. Schad, an Edmond Memorial High School student, took accelerated classes through Boulevard Academy and graduated early in 2005.
Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, his patriotism rose, said his mother, Colleen Whipple, of Edmond. He also had many family members serve in various branches of the military including his mother, brother, an uncle and his grandfather.
Schad was deployed in November on election day. He had asked to be infantry and worked his way up to squad leader. He was on his second tour in Afghanistan. His first was from July 2009 to July 2010.
Whipple said her son excelled in school and was driven to achieve. He was a marathon runner, enjoyed music and was considering a potential career in politics.
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