, Muskogee, OK

September 24, 2013

Soldier killed in Afghanistan gets posthumous awards

By Mark Schlachtenhaufen

— An Edmond soldier who died from wounds suffered in support of Operation Enduring Freedom has been honored for his courage under fire.

Spc. James T. Wickliffchacin, 22, of Edmond died Friday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, of injuries he suffered Aug. 12 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his dismounted patrol during combat operations in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan.

Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said Wickliffchacin received the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal of Valor posthumously.

Larson said Wickliffchacin was assigned to the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID. An infantryman, he joined the Army in June 2010 and arrived at the unit in October 2010, Larson said. This was his second deployment; he also went to Iraq from March to June 2011.

Information on funeral services was not immediately available.

In 2010, Wickliffchacin graduated from Santa Fe High School, former school principal Jason Brown said. He was a junior when Brown began his tenure there.

“I remember him as a polite and upstanding young man who very much wanted to go into the military,” Brown said.

“It was a choice and a dream and something he had planned to do.”

The following year, before graduation, Wickliffchacin had asked ahead of time if the school was going to do anything to recognize students who would be serving in the military.

“I told him he would have to wait, but he was in for a surprise,” Brown said.

“During graduation we always asked for those individuals to stand up who wanted to go into the military. I distinctly remember looking for and finding him in the audience, and he was smiling ear to ear.”

Brown said he remembered the story when he first heard the former student had been injured.

Mark Schlachtenhaufen writes for the Edmond Sun.