RIDDLE, Ore. &
Joshua Young's MySpace page showed a muscular man with a military haircut looking into a mirror. Next to the photo, the U.S. Army soldier had written: "Young coming home in February."
The 21-year-old and four other soldiers died last week during an ambush in Mosul, Iraq. Young will arrive home in southwest Oregon this week to be buried at Roseburg National Cemetery after a military funeral.
"One of the last things he said was he was going to be home really soon, like a week or two. And a week later, his sister called me and told me what had happened," said L.J. Butler, one of Young's best friends in Eugene, where he graduated from high school before moving to Riddle.
Young played high school football and loved animals. He planned to make the military his career and aspired to earn a degree in computer graphic design. Young was an accomplished artist, Butler's father said.
"Friends and I were sitting down at Papa's Pizza with Josh and L.J. one night and Josh had a piece of paper in front of him," Larry Butler said. "And about 15 minutes later he hands us this picture of me and my two friends, the whole background the table and everything. It was great."
Young was born in Whittier, Calif., and grew up in Oregon with his mother, Dawnya Fouts of Riddle, and two older sisters. He enlisted in May 2007 and was stationed at Fort Collins, Colo., before shipping out to Iraq in December with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
His father, Anthony Young of Whittier, will fly to Delaware on Monday and escort his son's body back to Oregon. Young said he was concerned about his son's decision to join the Army and suggested other branches of the military. But the son's will won out.
"He was a strong, handsome, compassionate young man that cared for others," Young said.
Relatives said Young was promoted to private first class about a week before his death. One of his sisters, Brandi Yanez, said her family has a history of military service, and her brother wanted to serve the country.
"It's something that he's been wanting to do since he was 5-years-old," she said.
Body of Ore. soldier returning
RIDDLE, Ore. &