Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1134-10
December 10, 2010
DOD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the
deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
They died December 8, 2010, in Balkh province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered
when an insurgent attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.
Sergeant James A. Ayube, II, 25, of Salem,
Specialist Kelly J. Mixon, 23, of Yulee, Florida
The soldiers were assigned to the 3rd Squadron,
2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.
For more information, media may contact the
U.S. Army Europe public affairs office at 011-49-6221-57-5812 or 011-49-6221-57-6315.
10 December 2011:
When Kelly J. Mixon came home from Afghanistan
for Thanksgiving in Yulee, he got to do two of his favorite things: mess
around in the kitchen and play the drums.
It was a happy time, family and friends say,
tinged with worries about how the rest of his deployment would go.
Those fears became true this week. Mixon and
a sergeant from Massachusetts were killed in Balkh province, Afghanistan,
after an insurgent attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.
Mixon, a U.S. Army Specialist, would have
turned 24 in two weeks. He got married right before he was deployed.
Mixon had talked for years, on and off, about
enlisting in some branch of the military, friends and family said. When
he signed up a few years after high school, it was clear he’d made the
“When I saw him, he was the happiest I’d seen
him in many a long time,” said Mary Sikes, who works in Fernandina Beach
High School’s guidance department and saw Mixon over Thanksgiving.
Although Mixon could seem rebellious — “not
afraid to be himself in front of everybody” is how his friend Ryan Teston
described it — it wasn’t much of a surprise when he enlisted or when he
went on to become a sniper.
“He was just looking for a big adventure,”
said Bob Jenkins, a drumline instructor who taught Mixon how to play. “He
always liked to do everything the best he could.”
Drumming was a major part of Mixon’s life
before he enlisted. He was interested in music in middle school and joined
the band when he went on to Fernandina Beach High School. “Over the next
four years, he was the best student I ever had,” Jenkins said.
He eventually became part of the D-Line, the
Jacksonville Jaguars’ official drumline.
When Mixon came home for Thanksgiving, he
stopped by and practiced with the current band members at the high school,
“He talked about how things were going,” said
Teston, who had played with Mixon back in high school. “He didn’t really
like Afghanistan, but he enjoyed the Army.”
As the news circulated through his close-knit
circle of friends and family, the thought that he was happy in the Army
provided some comfort.
“Everyone was scared” when Mixon left to finish
his deployment, his aunt, Ginny Mixon, said through her tears Friday afternoon.
“But he was doing what he wanted to do.”
When Mixon finished up his tour, several friends
said, he planned on going to culinary school, building on his love of cooking.
Although home for only a short time on his
last visit back, he managed to indulge that love, too, whipping up a batch
of hot wings.
18 December 2011:
The body of a local soldier killed in Afghanistan
will be arriving in Jacksonville today.
Kelly Mixon, 23, an Army Specialist from Yulee,
was killed in Balkh province after an insurgent's attack with an improvised
His remains are scheduled to arrive at Jacksonville
International Airport about 5:15 p.m. from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
A motorcade will form at JIA and go to Fernandina Beach.
Mixon's body will be taken to the Burgess
Chapel of Oxley-Heard. On Sunday at 12:30 p.m. his body will be transferred
to the First Baptist Church of Fernandina Beach. The funeral is set for
The family will receive friends in the Family
Life Center of First Baptist following the service.
After the local services, the body will be
returned to the Burgess Chapel, where it will remain until taken back to
Washington to be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery with full
19 December 2011:
For a few minutes Sunday afternoon,
the Jacksonville Jaguars' official drumline - two booming bass drums, three
rattling snare drums and three sets of clashing cymbals - pounded out its
ferocious rhythms in the normally sedate sanctuary of the First Baptist
But on a gray and chilly day, it was a perfect
way to honor Kelly Mixon, 23, a U.S. Army Specialist killed December 8,
2010, in Balkh province, Afghanistan.
He was crazy about drums, friend said, and
he drummed whenever and wherever he could: On books, bus seats and the
backs of desks, if he had no drums with him.
"He had drumsticks everywhere he went," said
Rachel Davis, who danced in the color guard of the Fernandina Beach High
School to the rhythms Mixon put down.
Mixon drummed for the school's Mighty Marching
Pirates for four years, and was also a member of the D-Line, the Jaguars
Before a 2 p.m. service, people lined South
Eighth Street near the church as a hearse bearing Mixon's flag-lined coffin
came to the church, accompanied by fire trucks, police cars and dozens
During and before the funeral, friends and
family remembered him as a practical joker who loved to cook and fish.
They said he was natural leader who readily joined the Army despite knowing
the risks that might await him overseas.
Speaking during the service, Bob Jenkins,
who helped teach drummers at Fernandina Beach High, said he first saw Mixon
as a skinny 14-year-old freshman.
He was sitting on a wall at school, trying
to drum along to the band with a pair of mismatched sticks pounding on
a textbook. His tongue sticking out, his face contorted, he was terrible,
But Mixon was persistent, and dedicated, and
eventually became one of the best drummers the Mighty Marching Pirates
Mixon, who was an Army sniper, was killed
along with Sergeant James A. Ayube II, 25, of Salem, Massachuetts, after
a suicide bomber attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.
He was about two weeks shy of his 24th birthday.
He and his wife, Amy, were married shortly before he was deployed to Afghanistan.
Mixon came home to Yulee last month to see
his family, and also found time to drop by the high school band to give
tips to its current drummers.
During that trip home, he also met with the
D-Line at a Jaguars home game against the Houston Texans. Robert Horne,
a member of the D-Line, said Mixon told them he was drumming on his drum
pad every chance he got in Afghanistan. "He said he drove the guys he was
living with crazy," Horne said.
Before the service, photos of Mixon played
on two big screens, showing him as a young boy, with his parents Judy and
Harold Bargeron Jr., with Amy, and fishing and clowning around with friends.
Many of those who were in the Mighty Marching
Pirates with Mixon watched tearfully in the cold as his coffin was brought
into the sanctuary.
Ryan Teston was among them. He met Mixon while
playing in the band at Fernandina Beach Middle School. "He played clarinet
and had a high-top 'fro, a nice 1980s hairdo going on," Teston said.
They both moved on to drums in high school,
with Teston, a grade behind, always trying to keep up with his friend.
Teston last saw Mixon on his trip home in
November. They ate chicken wings together at Sandy Bottoms Beach Bar and
Grill, where Mixon talked about everything but Afghanistan.
"I didn't want to bring it up; he was on R&R,"
said Teston. "He didn't seem like he had anything bad in his life. It seemed
like everything was really going well. He'd grown up a lot."
SPC US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 12/21/1986
DATE OF DEATH: 12/08/2010
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 9501
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
12 April 2011