Sgt Joshua Barrett Madden

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Minden's first casualty of the Iraq War

Sergeant Joshua Barrett Madden (born May 24, 1985) became the first Minden fatality in the Iraq War on December 6, 2006, when a terrorist bomb exploded. Four other members of his unit also perished. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Wolfhounds.

Madden, the son of two prominent Webster Parish families, was buried with full military honors on December 16. People held flags with hands over their hearts or solemnly saluted as they lined the Lewisville Road north from the First Baptist Church to Gardens of Memory Memorial Park to pay their respects.

The sergeant, a 2003 graduate of Minden High School, was reared in Sibley. He is survived by his childhood sweetheart and widow, the former Aimee Danielle "Dani" Smock of Athens (married 2005); three-month old son Jaxon Levi Madden; his parents, Jerry Madden and Cindy Richardson Madden; one sister, and two brothers. He was a maternal grandson of the late Webster Parish Coroner Dr. Thomas A. Richardson.


Sgt. Josh Madden, United States Army
Written by Press-Herald Staff   
Thursday, 14 December 2006

Sibley/Minden – Sgt. Josh Madden, an American patriot, lost his life along with four other soldiers on December 6, 2006 as the result of a massive explosion in Hawija, Iraq. He died doing what he loved, serving the United States and defending his country, his home, and his family. He was 21 years of age. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division WOLFHOUNDS.

Josh is the son of Jerry and Cindy Madden of Sibley/Minden. He is survived by his wife, Dani Smock of Athens, and a son, his pride and joy, Jaxon Levi Madden, 3 months old. He is also survived by his siblings, Jennifer Madden Benamati and husband Scott and their children Caden Madden Benamati, Baily, Ashlyn, Gabriel, and Jacob Benamati; David C. Madden and his wife Megan, and Kevin Madden; his grandparents, Simon and Dot Madden; his uncle Mike Madden, his namesake, wife Mitzi and son Ryan; his aunt Mary Bevill and her husband Bob, his uncle Thomas A. Richardson and wife Linda, aunt Sue Kinsey and husband Gene; and great uncle Frank Merritt. He is predeceased by his grandparents Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Richardson. He is survived by many cousins and friends.

Josh is survived by his best friend and blood brother, Aaron Goletz and fiancée Anna Willis, his second father and mother, Robert and Teresa Goletz, and family, Robin Goletz, Kristi Goletz Patrick, Natalie Goletz, and Eric Goletz of Sibley. Rarely have two boys formed a bond as Josh and Aaron. Their devotion to each other will always live on in the lives of their families.

Josh was born May 24, 1985 in Minden. He grew up in Sibley and graduated from Minden High School in 2003. He received the Drama Award, and Who’s Who Among American High School Students and the American Legion Award. He founded the Honor Guard at Minden High School, which served as the Color Guard for special programs at the school. He was a member of the Minden High School Crimson Chorus and performed in their production of “Grease”, and “Hello, Dolly” as well as many others. He danced as Gene Kelly for area nursing homes and ran the sound system for many productions. He performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as part of the 225th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence with the Crimson Chorus. He would bring his dress uniform home on leave and present the flag at Memorial programs at his home church Springhill Baptist in Ringgold, La.

He joined the Civil Air Patrol at Barksdale Air Force Base during high school; he said he just wanted to help people because he knew that they were involved in search and rescue. He traveled to Arkansas and to South Louisiana on field trips with this group. He went through ground school in Shreveport and flew his first and last flight.

He was greatly affected by the events of 9/11 and decided early in high school to join the military. He enlisted in the United States Army right after graduation in 2003. He completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia and completed javelin training there. He was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Oahu, Hawaii. He served his first tour of duty at Kirkuk, Iraq in 2004 and returned to Hawaii in 2005. Upon his arrival in Hawaii, he had a tattoo made around his arm of the cross of Christ and the crown of thorns. He received Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina this spring.

Josh married his childhood sweetheart Aimee Danielle (Dani) Smock on Oct. 5, 2005, at the Old Soldiers Chapel in Hawaii and became the happiest man on earth. He was deployed to Kirkuk for his second tour in early August. Their son, Jaxon, was born on Sept. 1, 2006, in Shreveport. He loved his son from the moment he heard Jaxon was on the way, but he had only two weeks to spend as a father with him. He did everything for him and was so proud to finally be a father.

Sgt. Josh Madden has earned the Combat Infantry Badge – 2nd award, the Overseas Ribbon, The Army Service Ribbon, The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expedition Medal, The Iraq Campaign Medal – 2nd award, The National Defense Service Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star.

Josh was first of all a good son. He loved his parents, admired and respected them. His father and mother gave him an Irish ring for his birthday while he was in high school. He loved that ring and refused to take it off even by the military. He told them that his parents had given him that ring and that was all he had to remind him of home and he would not take it off no matter what the retribution was. The family has been notified that the ring was found and will be returned.

He was the baby of the family and doted on by his brothers and sister. He adored his nieces and nephews and tried to be a good example to them. He was a comedian and loved to make people laugh. He was always doing comedy acts, loved to scare kids at Halloween, and would jump off his house into the pool. We all loved to hear Josh and Aaron tell stories about their many adventures around Sibley.

Most of all, he loved completely. He loved his family, his wife and baby, his God and his country. He was prepared to pay with his life and spoke of it during his last leave. He would not have wanted any attention paid to his death. He told his brother if something happened not to mourn him but celebrate his life.

That celebration will take place at First Baptist Church in Minden on Saturday, December 16, 2006 at 2 p.m. Viewing will be Friday, December 15, 2006 also at First Baptist Church from 3 until 8 p.m. Internment will be at the Gardens of Memory in Minden.

Donations to the Sgt. Josh Madden scholarship fund can be made to Richland State Bank, 1222 Homer Road, Minden, Louisiana, 71055, account number 5554535 or the Jaxon Levi Madden College Fund, Capital One Bank, account number 8074082794. Donations may also be made to the Hillman House for Cystic Fibrosis in Shreveport.