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Last updated 6:13AM ET
February 28, 2021
Dadeville Soldier Dies in Iraq
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - A 19-year-old soldier from Dadeville who recently arrived in Iraq was killed by a roadside bomb.

Pvt. 1st Class James Jacob Harrelson, who was known to friends and family as "Spanky," was killed by an IED Tuesday afternoon while driving a Humvee in a convoy as part of the 1st Infantry Battalion of the U.S. Army, his parents said. They said they were not told where in Iraq their son was killed.

Harrelson's family said anyone who met him instantly became his friend, an Alexander City newspaper, The Outlook, reported.

"He didn't have an enemy," said Christopher Baker, Harrelson's older brother.

Tammy Kinney, Harrelson's mother, who now lives in Alexander City, said her son joined the Army right after he graduated from Dadeville High School in 2006 and had been in Iraq since May.

"He wanted to continue his education and serve his country," she said.

Dadeville High School football coach Richard White told the newspaper Harrelson always had a smile on his face.

"If things weren't going good he would cheer you up," White said. "It's really sad. I'm going to miss that smile. He brought a smile with him when he walked. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

White said Harrelson talked to him about the future toward the end of the 2006 school year.

"He thought he would join the military," White said. "That was probably a good choice at the time since he needed financial help to go to college. Now, looking back, it may not have been a good choice."

Kinney said she supported her son but was not enthusiastic about his decision to fight in Iraq. Baker, who had already served in Iraq as a U.S. Marine sergeant, also opposed his brother's decision.

"I tried to tell him what it was like but he told me he could handle it," Baker said. "He just thought it was right."

Kinney said her son hadn't made specific plans for the future but that he knew he wanted to live on Lake Martin and have children.

Plans for Harrelson's funeral have not yet been announced.
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