Spc. James M. Clay, 25, of Mountain Home, Ark., died Nov. 13 in Anbar Province, Iraq, of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. Clay was a member of the 224th Maintenance Company from Mountain Home, but was attached to the 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment, 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Batesville during this deployment to Iraq.
The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.
"Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of one of our courageous young Soldiers," said Maj. Gen. William D. Wofford, adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this young man. No words can fill the void in their lives left by his loss. He was called to serve, and he answered that call with valiant service. He was a true patriot and will not soon be forgotten."
This is the 24th loss suffered by the Arkansas National Guard during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the second for this rotation of the 39th Brigade.
Currently the Arkansas National Guard has over 3,200 Soldiers and Airmen deployed to support operations in the Global War on Terrorism. The 39th Brigade Combat Team is anticipated to begin returning home in mid-December.
Notice to the media: As required by Public Law, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 prohibits the release of casualty information on deceased military personnel until 24 hours after notifying the next-of-kin. The Office of the Secretary of Defense is the sole release authority for names of all categories of missing and deceased personnel related to combat operations. Military members cannot make any comments relating to casualties until the information is confirmed via DoD release. Military members will refer all calls to the state public affairs office at (501) 212-5023.