I Salute You; Army Private First Class Joshua A. Gray
Army Private First Class Joshua A. Gray, 21, of Van Lear, Kentucky died Feb. 10 2014 in Bagram, Afghanistan, in a non-combat incident.
Private First Class Joshua A. Gray was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York and was serving during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Joshua was born November 10th, 1992 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Joshua was known at his school in Paintsville, Johnson Central High School, as “Josh.” He graduated in 2011. He was known for having a thirst for knowledge — computers, math, science and technology.
Joshua was on the academic team and SkillsUSA team, and was also voted prom king, and Most Unforgettable by his senior class. He was also known for his stuffed penguin, Mr. Waddles, a constant companion.
“He took Mr. Waddles everywhere with him,” said Tim Adams, district director of operations for JohnsonCounty schools. “It started out as a joke, but then it just caught on. Mr. Waddles became part of the class.”
“Josh not one time ever said anything rude. Never said anything that would hurt someone’s feelings,” said Brenda Porter, who used to teach Gray at Johnson Central “When I found out he was in the service, I was very proud that he had chosen to do that but very scared too.”
Joshua was very intelligent and enjoyed helping others. Teacher Amiee Cantrell-Webb says he was “a brilliant, well-loved guy.”
Angie Carriere taught Joshua to play music while he was a young boy living in Floyd County.
“Josh was a student of mine when I taught music at Mountain Christian Academy in Martin. He was a bright and gifted student. He was in my violin/fiddle class. He never wanted to learn to read music, instead he insisted on playing his music ‘by ear.’ Actually, he never really needed the music, he could just listen to the song and play it,” she said.
Tim Adams, district director of operations for Johnson County schools said the following about Joshua.
“Josh was an exceptionally bright young man. He just had that air about him that he attracted people to him,” he said, later adding he was not surprised to find out Gray had signed up for military service.
“He was a very giving young man,” he said, remembering Gray sometimes skipped academic team practice so he could volunteer to tutor a member of the school’s basketball team.
He is survived by his father, Seth William Gray and Retha L. Mollett of Van Lear, Kentucky; his mother, Robin Rena Gray and Keith Goble of Van Lear, Kentucky; one brother, Dustin Mollett of Olive Hill, Kentucky; one sister, Delaney R. Mollett of Van Lear, Kentucky; maternal grandparents, Andy and Kathleen Price of Warfield, Kentucky; paternal grandmother, Irene Gray of Smithfield, Rhode Island; three aunts, three uncles and several cousins.
Private First Class Joshua A. Gray, I Salute You