WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), released the following statement today regarding news that Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler of Roland, Okla. was killed Thursday during a special operations raid in Iraq:
“My prayers and my thoughts go out to the family of Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, an American hero and Oklahoman who was killed in action in Iraq. Wheeler’s death was not in vain. Because of his bravery and sacrifice, he was part of a successful effort to free 70 hostages that were being held by the Islamic State. While the administration declared an official end to our combat mission in Iraq in 2010, Oklahomans and our nation are reminded today that combat is still a reality for our all-volunteer force serving in the Middle East.”
Wheeler was born in Roland, Okla. and graduated from Muldrow High School in Muldrow, Okla. He entered the Army a year later as an infantryman, and worked his way up the ranks from infantryman, rifle team leader, squad leader, weapons squad leader, and anti-tank section leader. Wheeler had deployed 14 times in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wheeler marks the first combat death in Iraq since 2011.