Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Joseph E Proctor

Indianapolis, Indiana

May 3, 2006

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
38 Army Sgt

Army National Guard's 638th Battalion (Aviation)

Shelbyville, Indiana

 Killed in Tammin, Iraq when a suicide, vehicle-borne, improvised explosive device detonated near his observation post during dismounted combat patrol operations.

 

From The Indianapolis Star IndyStar.com 05/30/07:

A soldier's dedication
Firing range honors fallen guardsman
By Amy Bartner
amy.bartner[at]indystar.com

EDINBURGH, Ind. -- If Sgt. Joseph E. Proctor could have attended Tuesday's memorial dedication of a $4.7 million shooting range in his honor, his son said, he would have been the first one to try it out.

"He'd probably be the one out there shooting," said Pfc. Joseph A. Proctor, 21.
More than 250 friends, relatives and members of the military observed the dedication of the Sgt. Joseph E. Proctor Memorial Shooting Range in the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area near Edinburgh.
Proctor, 38, Whiteland, died May 3, 2006, as he defended fellow troops during an attack on a U.S. coalition compound in Tammin, near Ramadi, Iraq. He was the first Indiana soldier to receive the Silver Star -- the nation's third-highest medal for valor -- since the Vietnam War.
"He did not waver," said Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard. "He did not flinch."
At the dedication, Umbarger described the last moments of Proctor's life. Just before Proctor was killed, he shot the driver of a bomb-laden truck to prevent it from entering the troops' barracks, Umbarger said. The explosives detonated, killing Proctor immediately.
"There are men alive today who would not be if it weren't for first the courage and then the skill and marksmanship of this man," Gov. Mitch Daniels said. "It would be hard to come up with a more appropriate way to remember Joseph Proctor."
Daniels said he was proud to be associated with the memorial.
"We all yearn for the day and hope our children live in a day where we no longer have to create more memorials," he said. "Until that day comes, if it ever comes, we will need ideas like this and places like this so that no one ever forgets. I know one state in the union never will."
The shooting range has a 66-position rifle and pistol range and four combination trap and skeet fields. It officially opened to the public Tuesday after members of Proctor's family took the first shots.
A welder in civilian life, Proctor was assigned to the National Guard's 638th Aviation Support Battalion as a fuel specialist but volunteered for dangerous duty training Iraqi soldiers. He is survived by three children. His oldest son, Joseph A., joined the National Guard in August.
"This is very special," said Department of Natural Resources Director Robert Carter. "It's the day after Memorial Day, and we're dedicating this range to a hero -- from Johnson County, no less. It feels really good."
For Proctor's family, the range is a way of showing the rest of the state something they already knew.
"I'm glad people know his name and know what he's done," said Joseph A. Proctor, who said he didn't need anyone to tell him his father is a hero. "I think that to myself every day."

From The Atterbury campatterbury.org 01/17/07:

Indiana National guardsman and Silver Star
recipient leaves a legacy of service

For any Soldier who has served in the National Guard, the concept of family legacies is familiar.

Some family names stretch across unit rosters as far back as anyone can remember. At any given time that name will appear over and over on current rosters of units across the state.

Prominent among those family names in the state of Indiana is one that has become synonymous with honor: the name is Proctor.

Family members, friends and fellow Soldiers gathered in the atrium of the Indiana Statehouse to recognize that name, a name that belongs to one of Indiana’s fallen, Sgt. Joseph Proctor of Whiteland.

The Indiana National Guardsman was lost May 3, at Camp Ramadi, Iraq. Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indiana National Guard Adjutant General R. Martin Umbarger presented Proctor’s family with the Silver Star Medal, the third highest award for gallantry.

Beth Proctor displays a Silver Star medal certificate awarded posthumously to her husband, Sgt. Joseph E. Proctor on Dec.20 during a ceremony at the Statehouse. Their son, Joe Proctor, stands behind her. Joseph Proctor’s parents, Lloyd and Sharon, are on the left. Photo by Staff Sergeant Russell Lee Klika

Among the Soldiers present were three of Sgt. Proctor’s family members: his son Joseph Jr., his brother Eddie and his nephew Bradlee. Another nephew, Eddie Jr., is still in training and was unable to attend. All enlisted in the months following the loss of Proctor.

Many years have passed since Sgt. Proctor’s older brother Eddie served, but soon after his brother's death, Eddie re-enlisted in Proctor’s unit as a motor transport operator. It is a skill he brings after years as a civilian long-haul driver. “I heard they needed truck drivers (in Iraq), and that’s something I know about,” Eddie Proctor said.“And if I can continue what Joeystarted, I wanted to do that.”Proctor was an aviation fueler but volunteered for Military Transition Team duty in Iraq.

The job is adangerous one, embedding one or two American Soldiers into an Iraqi unit to train and mentor the fledgling troops. A group of Soldiers that served with Proctor and shared that danger traveled from New England to be with his family during the ceremony. “We’ve never met, but have talked on the phone,” said Sgt. Ben Hannur of Watertown, Conn. “Now to actually meet them brings it into perspective.

It’s a big family and they’re close ... close like we were in Iraq. ”Hannur said the loss of Proctor was felt heavily, particularly among the Iraqi soldiers Proctor trained. “Everybody knew him and he knew everybody. He made a huge impression on the Iraqis and they mourned him along with us, ”Hannur said. “He was the one you went to when you needed something, needed anything.

”The most telling evidence of Proctor’s mettle and character can be found in the narrative of the incident that accompanied the presentation of the Silver Star: “Sgt. Joseph E. Proctor, United States Army, distinguished himself by exhibiting exceptionally valorous conduct in the face of an enemy attack as Military Transition Team Trainer for 1st Battalion, 172ndArmor, Camp Ramadi, Iraq on 3May 2006 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

”Proctor served with 1st Battalion,1st Brigade, 7th Iraqi Division as a trainer in the Anbar Province of Iraq. He was in almost constant danger patrolling the most violent areas of the 5 Kilo District of Tammim, often with only one other coalition force member present. ”Proctor spent several days at Observation Post 293, one of the most isolated areas in Ramadi.

The post had been a target for insurgents in the area and routinely came under attack. Proctor was on duty when the post came under one of the fiercest attacks since its establishment. At approximately1415 hours the post began receiving indirect fire. Proctor was in a relatively safe location at the time, inside the cement barracks.

Cognizant of the hazards outside the barracks and without any official order to leave the safety of the building, Proctor quickly donned his protective equipment, went to assess the situation and render aid to those on security who were under attack. The severity of the attack was a diversion by the enemy in its attempt to destroy the observation post with a vehicular suicide bomb.

A large dump truck penetrated the west gate during the complex attack and continued moving toward the center of the observation post. Proctor immediately and aggressively stood his ground in the compound, firing more than 25 rounds from his M16 into the cab of the truck.

“He did not waver; he did not flinch, engaging the vehicle head-on as it was moving toward him and the remaining Soldiers in the building, ”said the narrative. He killed the driver of the dump truck before it could move further into the compound. The bomb detonated and Proctor was mortally wounded in the explosion. “Sgt. Joseph Proctor saved countless lives that fateful day by stopping the driver before he could reach his objective.

His actions were nothing less than heroic and embody the warrior ethos by his selfless courage. His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect distinct credit upon himself, the Indiana National Guard and the United States Army,” the narrative said.

BY Staff SGT Les Newport
Atterbury Staff Reporter

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