Another Local Soldier Killed in Iraq

Another Local Soldier Killed in Iraq An Army Reservist from Lumberton was killed Monday when he came under fire while searching a vehicle in Baghdad, the Pentagon said.

Army Spc. Bryan L. Freeman, 31, was assigned to the 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion, an Army Reserve special operations unit based in Warwick, R.I. Prior to his deployment to Iraq in September, he served with the 404th Civil Affairs Battalion at Fort Dix.

Freeman was a 1991 graduate of Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly, where he was a member of the wrestling team.

He aspired to be a New Jersey state trooper and had completed the qualifying tests for the job just before leaving for Iraq, his father, also named Bryan, told the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill.

"He was everything that's good in our young people today," the father told a local television station.

After graduating from high school, Freeman spent a year and a half in college before enlisting in the Army in 1993. He left the Army in 1997 and joined the New Jersey Army National Guard while working to complete his bachelor's degree in law enforcement, which he earned from Rowan University in 2001.

He came from a family with a strong military background. Both of his grandfathers were career soldiers. One, James Freeman Sr., was a member of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, the first African-American airborne unit.

Before being called back to active duty, Freeman worked as a clinical case manager with Family Service of Burlington County, counseling people with substance abuse problems.

He was also a volunteer wrestling coach at his old high school.

"He was one of the most well-liked coaches out there," coach John Godoy told the newspaper. "All he would talk about was wrestling, the season and about the kids, on the back and forth when he was in Iraq."

Freeman is the 26th New Jersey service member to die in Iraq since the start of hostilities there in March 2003.

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Author: NBC10/AP

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