NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 063-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 21, 2007
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Specialist William J. Rechenmacher, 24, of Jacksonville, Florida, died January 18, 2007, in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations.
Specialist Rechenmacher was assigned to the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
For further information related to this release, contact the Fort Hood Public Affairs Office, (254) 287-9993.
The family of Army Specialist (William) Joshua Rechenmacher has gathered in Jacksonville to remember a local hero and to lean on each other. “He was so special. He was my baby boy,” says his mother Joanne Gutcher. “[A] very smart, clever man, and he'll be a hero to me always,” says his father Rhett Rechenmacher.
When Joshua first saw the movie Top Gun as a little boy, his parents say they knew his destiny would always lie with the military. “It’s a hard time but we all know that he was happy doing what he was doing,” says his father.
Joshua was on his second tour of duty in Iraq. Thursday his unit was patrolling the streets of Baghdad. He was atop a Humvee as a gunner when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb. Several soldiers were hurt and Joshua was killed.
His father says his son “knew the risks. He didn't have to be in this unit. He wanted to be in this unit. He prided himself very much and we're proud of him.”
Information on what exactly happened that day in Iraq has been slow to come which is frustrating for a family trying to come to grips with the loss of a son, a fiancé, a father. “I wish I could tell [his father] it's a bad joke and he was fine and were going to talk and he's going to come and I can't and the [Military] is not giving the information that I want and I need.”
But they do know that Joshua didn't suffer and that he died doing what he loved, fighting for a cause he believed in and because of that, they feel exactly as he died. “He told us 95% of the people appreciate us being there and he couldn't wait to go back to help them. Do we need to be there? My son died because of that. Yes we do.”
Joshua's family doesn't know when his body will be brought back home. They plan to hold a memorial service here in Jacksonville and then he will be buried, as he wanted, in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
26 January 2007:
Specialist William Rechenmacher served one tour of duty in Iraq and volunteered for a second. On Friday, he came home for the last time.
A roadside bomb exploded near the 24-year-old's Humvee in Baghdad. He was killed.
A plane carrying his body landed at NAS Jax Friday.
“I think it probably displays the emotions of many of the people here at NAS Jax,” said Capt. Chip Dobson, Commanding Officer at NAS.
Military pride runs deep.
“It was very inspirational. It made me feel proud to be doing what I'm doing. Even more proud than I already am,” said sailor Casey Marx.
The parents of another fallen soldier paid their respects. Their son Timothy Seamans, 20, died in Iraq in 2005.
“We've walked in their shoes and so have several other families in Jacksonville. It's good that they know that we're there for them,” said Dave Seamans.
A funeral and memorial service will be held Saturday for the Rechenmacher. His mother said her son will buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The remains of 24-year-old Army Specialist Joshua Rechenmacher arrived in Jacksonville Friday afternoon, with services planned on Saturday to honor the soldier killed in action in Iraq.
Rechenmacher died January 18, 2006, after a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee as his 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division was patrolling Baghdad's streets.
His flag-draped casket arrived at Naval Air Station Jacksonville by charter jet shortly after noon and was turned over to the family.
His mother said Rechenmacher had served one tour of duty in Iraq and volunteered for a second tour.
“He knew the risks were higher this time. He was more scared this time, but he still served with honor,” said Joanne Gutcher, Rechenmacher's mother. “Every picture that I have from over there he has a smile on his face.”
The former Forest High School student joined the Army when he was 17 years old. His mother said he had wanted to serve his country since he was toddler.
“When he was about 2 or 3, he loved ‘Top Gun.' We went through three ‘Top Gun' tapes because he would constantly play it over and over. He would sit there and get his dad's motorcycle helmet and plunger and pretend he was flying the plane — that's what he wanted to do,” Gutcher said.
Rechenmacher served for seven years.
“I am so proud of him. He died doing what he wanted to do — serve his country and protect his family,” Gutcher said. “He loved being a soldier.”
The head of Jacksonville's Office of Veteran's Affairs said the city has been hit especially hard with war casualties recently.
“We've had four in the past couple of weeks that have come back to Jacksonville for their final salute, and it touches all of us,” Dan McCarthey said.
Dave and Monica Seamens, who went through the same pain when their 20-year-old son, Patrick, was killed in Iraq more than a year ago, came out Friday to support Rechenmacher's family.
“I've been there, and it's something that I didn't think I would ever have to go through,” Monica Seamens said. “I thought my son would come home alive, and I pray for him every day.”
A visitation for Rechenmacher will be held Saturday from noon until 2 p.m. at the Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home at 5753 Blanding Blvd., followed by a memorial service.
Rechenmacher will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
27 January 2007:
Hundreds gathered in Orange Park to honor a soldier killed in his third tour of duty in Iraq.
24-year-old specialist William Joshua Rechenmacher died in Baghdad just over a week ago. A bomb exploded near his vehicle during combat operations.
Rechenmacher's body was flown into Naval Air Station Jacksolville Friday.
Family members said burying their son was an incredibly heartbreaking experience for them, but it also was a proud one.
William Rechenmacher's family liked to call him by his middle name, Joshua.
Joshua was a lot of things: a father, a son, and a big brother. Kathrinne Rechenmacher is his 8-year-old sister.
“He would play with me all the time, whenever I was like a baby, and like 2 and 3. But he didn't come to our house that much. He was busy in the war,” said Kathrinne.
That's because Josh was also a soldier.
“I can't express it, he just knew what we were doing in iraq was the right thing. And he knew there was a duty to be done over there. He enjoyed doing that duty,” said David Rechenmacher, Joshua's Uncle.
David Rechenmacher says Josh enjoyed it so much, he volunteered to go over this last time.
“It was his choice, we're proud of his decisions and that, like I said, he knew there was a duty over there, and he wanted to do his duty.”
Joshua didn't make it home alive.
“I wasn't expecting him to be killed. And what I heard from my mom and dad, was that he was the strongest guy in the army. I'm really proud of him. He gave up, well he didn't give up, but he died [doing] What he loved to do. And he died wanting to give us freedom,” said his younger sister Kathrinne.
Now everyone is giving Josh a soldier's goodbye.
“It's just overwhelming. Just overwhelming. He was a great soldier,” said Bobbi Kindred, Joshua's grandmother.
“I loved him very much. Very much. I just want him back,” said Kathrinne.
Rechenmacher's name will be engraved into the Veteran's Memorial Wall because, like all the other soldiers listed there, he died fighting for his country.
The family says Joshua will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
RECHENMACHER, WILLIAM J
- CPL US ARMY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 01/07/1983
- DATE OF DEATH: 01/18/2007
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8504
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard