Stoddard County soldier killed in Afghanistan

BROWNWOOD, MO (KFVS) - A Heartland family is mourning the loss of a soldier from Stoddard County.

According to the Burnett family, 21 year old SPC James Burnett Jr., of Brownwood was killed Wednesday morning.

The family says the vehicle he was riding in struck an IED in the Kandahar Province.

"He was proud to serve in the army," said James Burnett Sr. "We are all so proud of him."

Burnett's family says they want to thank everyone in the community for an outpouring of support.

"Everybody that he met loved him," said Burnett Sr. "We have heard from friends from everywhere. He will be missed."

The family says he SPC Burnett decided to go into the army before he was even out of High School. His first tour of duty began in Afghanistan in April. He last came home for leave in July.

"I talked to him on the phone just over a week ago," said Burnett Sr. "He said he was scared the fighting was getting bad. He said they were losing a lot of good men out there."

Still, his family says he loved serving his country.

"He loved it," said his stepmother, Cheri Burnett. "You could almost hear tears in his voice when he first went in he loved it so much."

SPC Burnett was the oldest of seven sisters and a brother.

"They are going to miss him," said Cheri Burnett. "The two littlest ones won't even know him. We'll just have to tell them stories and show them pictures and keep his memory alive."

SPC Burnett went to high school in Kansas where his mother and three sisters live.

The family says SPC Burnett leaves behind a fiance. They say he loved to hunt, play video games, and spend time with his large family.

Right now they are in the process of making funeral arrangements. Stay with the Heartland News for the latest as the family finalizes the plans.  The family plans to have a memorial in Advance after his body is brought back home.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO-08) released a statement on the death of Specialist James R. Burnett, Jr., who died on November 16, 2011, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. 

"I received this sad news with a heavy heart, and my deepest sympathies are with his family," Emerson said. "Specialist Burnett's deep roots in Brownwood and Stoddard County make this a devastating loss for many, many people in our community. Clearly, this young man understood the importance of his service to our nation, and the prayers of all grateful Americans should be with him and his family now."

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