A Hometown Hero from Clarksville, Indiana

Tags: HeroStories

Greg Gilkey was kind enough to write us about his stepson, SGT James Daniel Faulkner. SGT Faulkner was killed in action in Iraq on September 8, 2004.

Sgt. James Daniel FaulknerSgt. James Daniel Faulkner was born on April 28, 1981 in Clarksville Indiana to James and Pamela Faulkner. Daniel, as he came to be called, was the fourth of six children and the first of three sons. He was a rather shy and quiet child who was most often content to watch television, read comic books and otherwise find ways to entertain and amuse himself.

Daniel attended Green Acres Elementary and Clarksville Middle Schools prior to attending and graduating from Clarksville High School in 1999. Daniel was a member of the National Honor Society, as well as the Track and Cross Country Teams. His coach, Darryl Kingery, was a big influence in Daniel's life and the two of them forged a close friendship. It was Daniel's dream to become a high school track and field coach and carry on in the tradition of his beloved Coach K.

Every spring Clarksville High School is host to an annual track meet which for years has been called The Clarksville Relays. In 2005, Thanks to the efforts of Coach Kingery and Athletic Director Rick Byers the name of this event was officially changed to The Daniel Faulkner Relays in honor or Daniel.

During his high school years, Daniel held several part time jobs, however he is best known for his skills at making delicious milk shakes at the local Steak-N-Shake restaurant, which earned him the nickname "The Shake Man". In his free time Daniel enjoyed fishing and playing pool with his best friend Pat Alexander.

Daniel applied for admission and was accepted into Auburn State University; however a shortage of housing resulted in him attending Indiana University Southeast instead. After a year of classes at IUS Daniel decided that his future was in the United States Army, so in November of 2000 he enlisted, selecting Combat Engineering as his preferred specialty.

Daniel attended basic and advanced training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. He attended Jump School in Ft. Benning Georgia where he became a qualified parachutist. At the completion of his training, Daniel was assigned to B Company, 20th Engineering Battalion of the First Cavalry Division and was stationed at Ft. Hood Texas. While stationed in Texas Daniel became engaged to Lisa Moreno and they made plans to be wed in San Antonio Texas in July of 2005 upon his return from deployment in Iraq.

Daniel's unit was deployed to Iraq in March of 2004 where they performed various peacekeeping activities in and around the city of Baghdad. In mid August of 2004 Daniel came home on leave and spent time visiting his fiancée as well as friends and family. At this time Daniel told us that he had reenlisted and that his next duty station after Iraq would be in Hawaii.

Daniel returned to Baghdad Iraq the first of September. On the morning of September 8, 2004, Daniel was the commander of the lead vehicle in a convoy when insurgents remotely detonated an improvised explosive device next to his vehicle killing him instantly and wounding the other two soldiers in the vehicle. His awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal and The Army Service Ribbon.

In the fall of 2004, Daniel's family established a memorial scholarship fund as a means to perpetuate the memory and presence of their son in the Clarksville Indiana community. Each spring the family honors their son's sacrifice though the awarding of a $500.00 scholarship to a deserving graduating senior of Clarksville High School. The scholarship is funded by the proceeds from a memorial golf scramble held in Daniel's honor each October at the local golf course in Clarksville.

More information regarding Daniel can be found on his website: www.ourhometownhero.com