Services will be held Thursday for Army Pfc. Albert R. Jex, who was killed by a suicide car bomber in Mosul, Iraq, on Feb. 9. He was 23.
Pfc. Jex, who grew up in Lockport, was the personal bodyguard for his battalion commander, a lieutenant colonel who also was killed in the blast, along with two other American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter.
He was serving in the 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas, as a .50-caliber machine gunner with Headquarters Troop, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. He was less than two months into what was scheduled to be an 18-month deployment to Iraq, his first overseas assignment since enlisting in the Army in the fall of 2006 and going through basic training at Fort Knox, Ky.
Before that, he was working in Phoenix as a finish carpenter and supervisor on home construction jobs. However, his mother, Cathleen MacFarlane, of Lockport, said he had wanted to join the Army since he was 16 years old.
Pfc. Jex was born in Newfane and graduated from Lockport High School in 2003. He had been a junior fireman with the South Lockport Fire Company and associated with the Venture Crew at the Wrights Corners Fire Company.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, racing and camping in the Southern Tier. He owned a 130-horsepower Pontiac GTO muscle car, which he used to drag race in Texas, according to his father, Nelson, of Lockport.
Other survivors include his wife, the former Monica Brenon, and his siblings, Nicole James, and Mackenzie MacFarlane and James MacFarlane.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday in Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 6965 Chestnut Ridge Road.
-- Thomas J. Prohaska of the News Niagara Bureau