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Originally published September 26, 2009 at 6:07 PM | Page modified September 26, 2009 at 10:48 PM

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Bellevue man among three soldiers killed in Afghanistan

A 21-year-old Bellevue man was one of three American soldiers killed Thursday in Omar Zai, Afghanistan, when their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device, the U.S. Department of Defense announced today. Spc. Joseph V. White had gotten married this year, a month and a half before being deployed to Afghanistan, his family said this afternoon.

Seattle Times staff reporter

A 21-year-old Bellevue man was one of three American soldiers killed Thursday in Omar Zai, Afghanistan, when their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Saturday.

Spc. Joseph V. White had gotten married in May, a month and a half before being deployed to Afghanistan, his family said Saturday.

The other soldiers who were killed were Sgt. Edward B. Smith, 30, of Homestead, Fla., and Sgt. Titus R. Reynolds, 23, of Columbus, Ohio. The three belonged to the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, out of Fort Lewis.

White's mother, Robyn, said Saturday that her son was home-schooled and took some classes at Bellevue Community College before joining the Army in 2006.

"Joe had a strong faith in God and knew that no matter what happened in his service to the military that he was in God's hands and that if he were to die, he would be with his Savior, Jesus Christ," Robyn White wrote in an e-mail to The Seattle Times.

White had two brothers and seven sisters, and was a committed brother and friend, his mother wrote. She remembered how last Christmas, while on leave, he went to the store, bought some Lego sets, and sat on the floor building things with his younger sisters.

"He was very protective of his teenage sisters, making sure the guys that hung around them knew they would have to answer to him if they messed with his sisters," she said.

He proposed to his girlfriend, Jessica, over the Christmas holidays.

White's family supported and was proud of his military service, Robyn White said.

"Joe was not happy to be leaving his bride to go to Afghanistan, but he did not complain. Rather, he went with a strong sense of duty and desire to maintain freedom and safety for others," his mother wrote.

White loved the outdoors. His favorite pastimes included Frisbee, drawing, paintballing and playing video games with his brothers and friends.

He enlisted in 2006 and received training in Fort Benning, Ga. In 2007, he reported to Fort Bragg, N.C., where he served as an assistant gunner with the 82nd Airborne Brigade. While with that brigade, he was deployed to Iraq, his mother said.

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Six months ago, White reported to Fort Lewis. He went to Afghanistan in July.

His awards and decorations included the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Parachutist Badge.

"Joseph White is our hero and will be greatly missed by many, many people," his mother said.

Ken Armstrong: 206-464-3730 or karmstrong@seattletimes.com

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