(Des Moines) The Department of Defense released information in regards to the death of Sgt. James L. Skalberg, Jr., 25, an Emerson, Iowa native serving on active duty in the U.S. Army, who died June 27, in Maidan Shahr, Wardak province, Afghanistan. Skalberg was killed when the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle he was driving was attacked by an Improvised Explosive Device. He was assigned as a canon crewmember to Battery B, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, U.S. Army, Fort Bliss, Texas.
1st Lt. Stephen C. Prasnicki, 24, of Lexington, Va. was also killed in the attack. Prasnicki was assigned to the U.S. Army’s 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 173rd Airborne Combat Brigade Team, Warner Barracks, Bamberg, Germany.
Skalberg grew up in Emerson and graduated from Nishna Valley High School in 2005, where he participated in basketball, football and track. He attended Peru State College in Peru, Neb., where he played football, prior to enlisting in the military. He joined the U.S. Army in February 2007 and was initially stationed with Battery A, 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment at Smith Barracks, Baumholder, Germany. He deployed with this unit to Iraq in 2008-09.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart (posthumous awards), Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Driver’s Badge, Air Assault Badge and Combat Action Badge.
Skalberg is survived by his wife, Jessica Skalberg and son, Carter Skalberg, both of Red Oak, Iowa; his parents, James L. and Kelli R. Skalberg, Sr., and sister, Spring Skalberg, all of Cullman, Ala.; grandparents, Bonnie and John Stephens, Emerson, Iowa; and grandmother, Karen Brewer, of Emerson. He is also survived by his mother- and father-in-law, Meshell and Bill Billings, of Red Oak; father-in-law, Dave Payne, of Omaha, Neb.; brother in-law, Jacob Payne, who is currently serving in Afghanistan; and sister-in-law, Courtney Billings, Red Oak.
The family of Sgt. James L. Skalberg, Jr. issued the following statement:
"James was loved by his family, friends and community. Carefree, easy-going, reliable, level-headed, loving, he was a gentleman in all respects. He was the true love of Jessica’s life. They met when Jessica was 15-years old and Jamie was 17 and their young love grew into so much more. A proud father, he was excited to have more children and was looking forward to teaching them how to play basketball. He was proud to serve his country and was greatly respected and loved by his Soldiers. He will be greatly missed and remembered forever."
Funeral arrangements are pending and details will be provided as they become available. The Skalberg family asks that their privacy be respected at this time. For more information regarding Sgt. Skalberg, media may contact the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Division Public Affairs Office at 915-744-8498 or 915-744-8406 or 254-371-5704, or the Iowa National Guard Public Affairs Office at the contact information listed below.
For questions concerning the operations, training, and activities of the Iowa Army and Air National Guard, please contact Col. Greg Hapgood, Iowa National Guard Public Affairs Officer, at (515) 252-4582 (office), (515) 971-6385 or by email at email@example.com . You may also contact Master Sgt. Duff E. McFadden at (515) 252-4666 (office), (515) 480-7647 (cell), or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iowa Air National Guard