ASU alumnus injured in Afghanistan suicide attack
by Anna Oakes
Sgt. James Pierce was serving with the North Carolina Army National Guard’s 514th Military Police Company in Khost City, Afghanistan, when an insurgent on foot approached the soldiers’ patrol and detonated a suicide vest, according to an Oct. 3 release from the N.C. National Guard.
Pierce is currently hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., according to Nina-Jo Moore, a communication professor and former administrator in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, which includes Military Science and Leadership.
According to an Oct. 13 message on Pierce’s Facebook page said to have been written by Pierce’s mother Sherry Harrell, Pierce has shrapnel injuries along the left side of his body and has had multiple surgeries to remove shrapnel and repair broken bones.
“He still has some surgeries ahead of him,” Harrell said. “Just continue to pray for him and his recovery.”
Pierce’s Facebook page lists his hometown as High Point and his current city as Wilmington. His Facebook wall includes hundreds of messages of support from friends and well-wishers.
Pierce and two others were injured in the attack, the N.C. National Guard said. The three soldiers killed in the attack were Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, 29, of Raeford; Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, 23, of Browns Summit; and Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV, 25, of Leland.
“We are still grieving for these soldiers, their families and their unit members still carrying on with their mission,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Lusk, adjutant general of North Carolina and commander of the nearly 12,000 men and women of the North Carolina National Guard, in a statement. “They were the embodiment of citizen soldiers who put everything on hold to go in harm’s way for all of us.”
The unit left North Carolina for Fort Bliss, Texas, in June and departed for Afghanistan in early August with the unit fully in place there by the end of the month, the National Guard said.