GREENWOOD – (AP) Friends and colleagues say a 20-year-old Mississippian killed in Afghanistan was a high-performing student who became a skilled soldier.
U.S. Army Pfc. Patricia Horne was buried with full military honors Saturday in Hudson Park Cemetery in her hometown of Greenwood, according to the Greenwood Commonwealth.
Patricia Horne, who wanted to become a physician, had been in Bagram, Afghanistan about a month when she was killed Aug. 24, said her mother, Betty Horne.
While stationed at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, Horne became the latest Mississippi soldier to die while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. She is the 36th military woman to die in Afghanistan during the past 11 years. The military did not immediately release a cause of death.
Percy Powell, who served as principal at both Threadgill Elementary School and Greenwood High School, remembered Patricia Horne as an “impeccable” student who didn’t have a single disciplinary notice during her four years of high school.
“Everything she wanted to do, she wanted to do it perfect,” Powell said.
Horne was member of the 96th Aviation Support Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division.
Brig. Gen. William B. Hickman, the division’s deputy commander, said Saturday that Horne was an exemplary soldier who embraced the Army’s values of duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and courage.
In the Army, Horne was a human resource specialist and ensured that soldiers’ records were accurately maintained and updated, Hickman said. She received the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal and the NATO International Security Assistance Force Medal.
Freddie White-Johnson, program director of the Mississippi Network for Cancer Control and Prevention, recalled that she became friends with Horne when the young woman worked at Pizza Inn. White-Johnson would call and ask to reserve the restaurant’s back room for meetings.
“She’d call and say, ‘Miss Johnson, I’ve got your room.’ She was cheerful, always trying to help,” White-Johnson said.
Jenece McNeal, a high school classmate, said she used Facebook to maintain contact with Horne, who loved the Army.
“She enjoyed it. She worked real hard. I can say she was where she wanted to be,” McNeal said.
The Rev. Robert Williams Jr., pastor of Community Baptist Church, where Horne was a member, said she had a higher calling than serving her country.
“Patricia has fulfilled her purpose. Now, she’s gone home,” he said. “Her purpose was to be a good soldier in the Lord’s army.”