Soldier Killed in ISIS Operation Identified as Oklahoma Man

This photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, who was killed in a raid against the Islamic State group in northern Iraq on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, according to a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. Army Col. Steve Warren told The Associated Press that Wheeler and dozens of U.S. special operations troops and Iraqi forces raided a compound near the city of Kirkuk, freeing approximately 70 Iraqi prisoners from captivity. (US Army via AP)

MULDROW, Okla. (AP) – The first American soldier to die in combat against the Islamic State group in Iraq has been identified as a 20-year Army veteran and Oklahoma native who had been deployed 11 times to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, 39, was identified by coalition officials Friday as the person killed during a compound raid near the city of Kirkuk.

High school friends said Wheeler, who graduated from Muldrow High School in 1994, enlisted in the Army when he was 19.

April Isa, now an English teacher at Muldrow High School, graduated with Wheeler. She remembered a funny, quiet teen with long blond hair who “would keep you in stitches.”

In Muldrow and Roland, towns where Wheeler grew up and some family members live, flags were lowered to half-staff.

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