Two weeks after the death of the first Kentucky Army National Guard soldier from the Carrollton unit since the Vietnam War was announced, another Kentucky Guardsman has been killed in Iraq.
Private First Class Sammie E. Phillips, 19, of Vine Grove, was killed Sept. 10 when his vehicle overturned while conducting a traffic control mission on a highway near Rustamiyah, Iraq, the military said. The military vehicle took "evasive action," struck a culvert and overturned, Kentucky's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Donald C. Storm, said.
Two other Kentucky Army National Guard Soldiers were injured in the incident. Those soldiers families have been notified, the military said. However, the injured soldiers' names have not been released to the public.
Phillips was assigned to the Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, based in Carlisle. Phillips, who joined the Kentucky Army National Guard last year, deployed with his unit in August.
"Pfc. Sammie Phillips was an excellent soldier who had unlimited potential," Capt. Robert S. Mattingly said. "He was always ready to go, which is one of the best traits a soldier could possess."
Storm, who spoke with reporters after a ceremony commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, became choked with emotion while talking about Phillips, calling him "a tremendous young soldier that had just tremendous potential."
"The death of Phillips is a tragedy for all of Kentucky," Gov. Ernie Fletcher said. "Like so many others of his generation, he bravely chose to serve his nation and the Commonwealth. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time."
Statewide, flags will remain at half-staff throughout the state until sunset on the day of Phillips' funeral. Individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies are encouraged to join in this tribute by lowering flags in honor of Phillips.
Phillips was a 2006 graduate of North Hardin High School. His hometown, Vine Grove, is located about 100 miles outside of Carrollton, near Radcliff and Elizabethtown.
Phillips is survived by his wife, Ashley Marie Phillips; his mother, Rachel D. Crutcher; his stepfather, Donnie Crutcher and his father, Ronald E. Phillips.
Funeral arrangements for Phillips are pending.
Two other soldiers have been killed in just over two weeks - Staff Sgt. Nicholas Carnes died Aug. 26 during a fire fight in Afghanistan and Staff Sgt. Delmar White died Sept. 1 when a roadside bomb exploded while he and other soldiers were escorting a convoy in Iraq.
Phillips is the 16th Kentucky Guard soldier to die since the global war on terror began.