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Muldrow Residents Remember Soldier Killed Fighting ISIS

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Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler was killed during a raid to free prisoners about to be executed. Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler was killed during a raid to free prisoners about to be executed.
Muldrow friends remember him as funny, quiet and tough. Muldrow friends remember him as funny, quiet and tough.
Muldrow High School Principal Steve Page. Muldrow High School Principal Steve Page.
MULDROW, Oklahoma -

One of Oklahoma's finest makes the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq. Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler was killed during a raid on an ISIS compound near Kirkuk. He's the first American to die in combat with the extremist group, and the first American soldier killed in Iraq in five years.

The fallen hero went to school at Muldrow, in Sequoyah County.

The flag at Muldrow high school sits at half staff Friday. Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler graduated from the school back in 1994. School administrators tell us they were shocked to hear the news.

Students and faculty at Muldrow high school observed a moment of silence Friday afternoon in honor of Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, killed Thursday in Iraq. The Muldrow class of '94 graduate joined the military shortly after his senior year,  rising through the ranks.

Steve Page is the principal at the high school and says he's heard a lot about the fallen hero.

10/23/2015 Related Story: Oklahoma Soldier Killed In Iraq

"One of the coaches that had him in 8th grade said he was quiet; he was funny, and he was tough," said Steve Page, principal of Muldrow High School. 

Wheeler, 39, is the first U.S. soldier killed in the war against ISIS. It happened as U.S. soldiers assisted Kurdish forces in freeing 70 hostages from an ISIS prison in Iraq Thursday. The hostages were set to be executed that same morning.

"To be willing to go in and go through that kind of mission for human life and to fight the terrorist threat that ISIS is and to know that you could go in there, and I could lose my life, that just says a lot about his character and about his willingness to defend the country," Page said.

The Secretary of Defense says Wheeler's actions during the raid saved lives and made the mission a success.

A type of valor Muldrow High School Principal Steve Page says makes students and staff proud to call Master Sgt. Wheeler one of their own.

Several state lawmakers have offered their condolences and called for prayers for Master Sgt. Wheeler's family.

Wheeler joined the military in 1995. He was assigned to U.S. Army Special Operations Command in 2004, and deployed eleven times to support combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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