Fallen Soldier: James E. Estep
Hometown: Leesburg, Florida
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Player: Mateo Pulcini
Army Staff Sgt. James E. Estep, 26, of Leesburg, Florida, was assigned to the 1st Batallion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Estep died on November 15, 2005, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Taji, Iraq; he was one of four soldiers wounded in the explosion.
As a boy growing up in rural Virginia, Estep and his siblings fished in icy creeks, catching trout with their bare hands, and played war with BB guns and the neighborhood kids. After graduating from Lee Adult High School in 1998, Estep enlisted in the United States Army, a goal he had always had, as he wished to carry on a tradition set by both of his grandfathers, who served in World War II. During his service, he spent four years at military bases in Germany and at the time of his death, was in the middle of his second tour in Iraq.
Staff Sgt. Estep’s brother, Michael said his brother was proud to fight for his country. "He cared more for other people than he did for himself. That's how we'll always remember him," he said. "He'd even mow your lawn if you needed help." A devoted husband and father, Estep left behind his beloved wife and three children, who were three years, two years and four months old at the time of his passing.