East Texas Soldier Recovers After Bomb Attack

Five U.S. soldiers are recovering after their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq last week. We got word today that one of those soldiers is from East Texas. Joshua Gaspard and his fellow servicemen reportedly captured at least 13 Iraqis allegedly responsible for planting the bomb. Gaspard's mother says she is proud of him.

"It's always good to get email from him."

Delores Kellenbenz says just hearing her son is OK is enough to keep her day upbeat.

"That's the first thing we do in the morning is check email and make sure that we've heard from him, or we check the headlines to see if anything else has happened," said Kellenbenz, as she sat in front of her computer with a picture of her and her son on the screen.

Second Lt. Joshua Gaspard is stationed in Kirkuk with the 173rd airborne division. He's the leader of his platoon of more than 40 men. Josh's mother says he has always been a leader. Josh was the valedictorian of Whitehouse High school and went on to West Point, where he graduated 16th in his class of more than 900.

"Not too long ago, I got an email from him that he ordered materials so that he could start teaching some of his soldiers to take the SAT so that when this war is over and they go back to normal life, they can make a better life for themselves by going on to school," said Kellenbenz.

And that is exactly the picture you get of Josh: someone who looks out for his fellow soldiers. Josh asked his mother to stop sending mail to him, but instead to a soldier in his platoon who had not received anything.

"So I said 'Oh, no problem,' so I got on the email, and we ended up getting this young man lots of things sent to him, and I think Josh even said he cried, he was so grateful that so many strangers had thought of him because no one needs to be forgotten there, nobody."

Delores says her son will be relieved of duty in Iraq in April. Until then, she says she'll have good days and bad days, but is grateful Joshua is still alive with only shrapnel wounds.

Like the soldier in Joshua Gaspard's platoon, many soldiers would love to receive mail from home. If you'd like to send a card, gift, or care package to a soldier stationed abroad, click on the "Support Our Troops" icon on the homepage for more information.

Julie Tam, reporting.