Army Capt. Drew E. Russell, 25, of Scotts, Mich.
; assigned to 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Oct. 8 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by a rocket propelled grenade.
'Ever since he was a little kid, he was in the Army'
The Associated Press
SCOTTS, Mich. — A 25-year-old Army captain from southwestern Michigan whose boyhood maneuvers with toy soldiers were more like training than play and who was planning a military career was killed along with a comrade from Tennessee when Afghan insurgents attacked their unit with a rocket propelled grenade, his family and the military said.
Capt. Drew E. Russell of Scotts and Capt. Joshua Lawrence, 29, of Nashville, Tenn., died Saturday after enemy forces attacked their unit in Kandahar province, the Defense Department announced Monday.
Russell's hometown is in Kalamazoo County, about 10 miles southeast of Kalamazoo.
Russell and Lawrence were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo.
Russell graduated from Vicksburg High School in 2004 and entered Western Michigan University as an ROTC student, graduating in 2008 with a double major in criminal justice and military science, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.
Jim Russell, 59, said his son planned a military career. He said his son spent long hours as a child arranging units of toy soldiers around the house and staging mock battles. It was more practice than play, the father said.
"I always looked at him and wondered if he was (Gen. George) Patton," the father told The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colo. "Ever since he was a little kid, he was in the Army. That's what he wanted."
Russell also had a playful side, his father said. He once broke into a friend's house while she was on vacation and ripped the labels off of every can of food.
"She spent three or four months guessing what dinner was going to be," his father said.
Russell's first overseas deployment was to Afghanistan, starting June 13. He was responsible for U.S. and Afghan soldiers at police stations around Afghanistan, his family said.
"He was a wonderful son," said mother Patti Russell, 52. "He was very loving and he had a great sense of humor. There's just an empty hole in my heart that will never be filled again."
Russell's remains were flown to Dover, Del., Air Force Base on Monday afternoon.
"Drew won't even be able to have kids," Jim Russell said as he choked back tears. "What do you say? He had a good future in front of him."
Drew Russell is also survived by his brother, James. Funeral plans were not immediately announced.