WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford (R-Okla.) tonight spoke together on the Senate floor in recognition of Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler of Roland, Okla., who was killed on Oct. 22 during a special operations raid in Iraq that led to the release of 70 individuals being held hostage by ISIS.
Wheeler will be laid to rest Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.
Delivered by Inhofe:
Josh was the epitome of a selfless and patriotic soldier. Mr. Lance Hunter, Sgt Wheeler’s friend of 30 years, said that Josh was the kind of person who would stop and help a stranger change a tire on the side of the road and always dedicated himself to challenges, “110%.” “When he enlisted, I knew he would go as far as he could go. He was made to be a soldier.” And a soldier he was. During his career, Master Sergeant Wheeler had earned a humbling 11 Bronze Stars including four with valor devices and countless other medals. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for his actions during the raid on the ISIS prison. He is a true American hero…
We are safe and our country is secure because of Josh and all our service men and women. We must continue our unwavering support for them. I extend our deepest gratitude and condolences to Josh’s family. And I am honored to pay tribute to this true American hero who volunteered to go into the fight and made the ultimate sacrifice of his life for our freedom. It is my sincere hope that his family takes solace in knowing that their husband, father, brother, grandson and friend is a true American hero and will never be forgotten.
Delivered by Lankford:
Master Sergeant Wheeler was the best of the best. He was one of the most highly trained warriors in the entire Department of Defense. Master Sergeant Wheeler’s sacrifice exemplifies the highest virtue in defense of his family, friends and nation.
When the Kurdish attack on the prison where the hostages were being held was stalled, Master Sergeant Wheeler responded. He could not watch the Kurdish forces face the attack without help. He would not allow those men inside the facility to face execution when he could help them escape. Master Sergeant Wheeler breached the wall. He engaged the enemy. The full force of the attack came directly at him, and he saved the day and six dozen men.
Good men stand up to such evil. They don't allow it to grow and multiply. We honor Master Sergeant Wheeler's sacrifice and tenacious commitment to confront evil. We humbly thank his family for the sacrifice they made, so that we all may live in a more peaceful world. Our nation cannot say thank you loud enough or long enough to his family. May God bless Josh's family. May his boys grow up to be men who remember their dad's love for them and our nation.