Soldiers From Anadarko, Oklahoma City Die In Iraq

Sunday, June 24th 2007, 2:00 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Two U.S. Army soldiers from Oklahoma were killed on the same day last week in separate attacks in Iraq. Pfc. Thomas Ray Leemhuis, 23, of Anadarko, and Sgt. Ryan M. Wood, 22, of Oklahoma City, both were killed Thursday in Baghdad. As of Saturday night, the U.S. Defense Department had not confirmed their deaths.

Leemhuis attended Binger-Oney High School in Caddo County before moving to nearby Anadarko after he graduated in 2002, said Tammy Smith, the mother of one of the soldier's high school friends, Ashlie Smith.

Ashlie Smith said Leemhuis played basketball at Binger-Oney and was called "Tom" by his friends.

"He was real outgoing," Ashlie Smith said. "He was real goofy. He was just real fun to be around."

Funeral services are pending for Leemhuis, according to the Binger Funeral Home.

Wood, a member of the Army's 1st Infantry Division, 26th Battalion, Charlie Company, was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq. He and four other soldiers died when the vehicle in which they were riding hit a bomb in northeast Baghdad.

"During the first tour of duty he was extremely proud to be there; he believed in what he was doing and why we were there," said Wood's stepfather, Scott Vincent.

But "he did not have a good feeling about this tour," Vincent said.

Vincent said Wood was an artist who had received an acceptance letter from the University of Central Oklahoma just before he died.

Wood had had the names of two other soldiers who died in combat tattooed on his chest. His stepfather said he hoped Wood's death will remind others that American soldiers are dying for their country in Iraq.

"The majority of them are proud to be there," Vincent said. "They don't want to be forgotten. They want to have the tools to do their job."

Funeral services also are pending for Wood.