UNCP graduate Josh Deese dies in Iraq


1st Lieutenant Joshua Deese of Rowland, N.C., died Sunday, October 15, 2006, in Balad, Iraq. The cause of death was injuries from a roadside bomb, according to a statement from the Army.

joshua_deese.jpgDeese was a 2003 graduate of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He was an American Studies major and a member of Phi Sigma Nu, a Native American fraternity.

Deese was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant upon graduation from UNCP’s ROTC program, said Master Sgt. Johnny Torre.

Chancellor Allen C. Meadors spoke for the University.

"We received the news of Joshua Deese’s untimely death with great sadness," Chancellor Meadors said. “While we grieve the loss of any life, the loss of one of our own unites us in sorrow. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joshua’s family.”

“He was a good leader who liked to lead from the front,” Torre said. “He was very competitive physically and was on our Ranger Challenge team in 2002 that finished third out of 33 schools.”

Master Sgt. Torre said he was in contact with 1st Lt. Deese, and Deese had planned to return to UNCP in the summer of 2007 to pick up personal items. Several photos of Deese are in an album next to the ROTC trophy case.

“He was a good kid, and we enjoyed having him in our program for four years,” Torre said. “He came to us fresh out of high school.”

Dr. Stephen Berry, a faculty member of the History Department and Deese’s advisor, said he was good student.

“He was a smart kid, affable and handsome,” Dr. Berry said. “He was very quie t and smiled easily. He had a lot of integrity and tried to do the right things.”

Deese was a 1999 graduate of South Robeson High School He was deployed to Iraq in August after serving in Afghanistan, according to newspaper accounts. He served with the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Division, based in Hawaii.

He is the son of Ronnie and Rogina Deese.

A tribute is posted at his fraternity Web site at: www.phisigmanu.com.