2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN — “Warhorse” Brigade Soldiers mourn the loss of two of its own Friday. Capt. Drew Edward Russell and Capt. Joshua Sean Lawrence died of wounds from a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Kandahar City, Saturday.
Both Russell and Lawrence were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
Russell, 25, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Western Michigan University. He completed the Armor Officer Basic Course in 2008 and then was stationed at Fort Carson.
“When I arrived at Fort Carson in 2009 and reported to Apache Troop, the first lieutenant I met was Drew Russell,” said 1st Lt. Michael Russo, the executive officer for Troop D, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. “Drew took me around and showed me the post and as battle buddies and fellow platoon leaders we formed a great friendship over time. Drew was a great man with an amazing work ethic and was a special leader who Soldiers trusted and respected.”
Russell deployed to Afghanistan in May in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where he served as an assistant operations officer. He was promoted to captain in August. In his career, he earned the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. Russell was Airborne qualified.
“He and I had the pleasure to serve on squadron staff together where we both worked as battle captains for the squadron tactical operations center,” said Capt. Andrew Cairns, an assistant operations officer in 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg. “Drew had the ability to provide levity to many tense and uncomfortable situations ranging from troops in contact to challenging discussions with the squadron commander or executive officer. His sense of humor and antics were crucial during those times.”
Russell is survived by his mother, Patricia Russell; father, Joseph Russell; and brother, James Russell.
Soldiers from 2nd BCT will also remember Lawrence, 29.
“Josh was a good officer and put so much of himself into everything he did,” said Capt. Timothy Hines, assistant plans officer for 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
Lawrence enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 2005 and was commissioned as an air defense artillery officer through Officer Candidate School. He was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and in Korea before joining Warhorse at Fort Carson.
“Josh was a lifelong learner with incredible intelligence and he was the epitome of selfless service,” said Capt. Matt Pratt, assistant brigade planner, 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
Lawrence deployed to Afghanistan in May in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where he served as an assistant plans officer. In his career, Lawrence earned the Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
“Josh was the heart of the plans shop; his positive disposition and sense of humor made the bad days better and his ability to plan complex operations with minimal guidance was essential to mission accomplishment,” said Maj. Jerome Barbour, brigade plans officer, 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. “His dedication to the welfare of Soldiers was obvious as was his love for his Family and friends.”
“He was the smartest person I’ve ever met,” Pratt said. “By day seven on the ground he was planning complex air assault missions. … In his free time at the office he was learning the capitals to every country in the world, which is no small feat.”
Lawrence is survived by his wife, Brittany Lawrence, and his mother, Judy Lawrence.
Russell and Lawrence were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, NATO Medal and Combat Action Badge.