For just the second time since American troops deployed to Afghanistan in Iraq, and Austin Peay alumnus has been killed in fighting overseas.
Capt. Joshua “Twitch” Lawrence, 29, died Saturday in Kandahar, Afghanistan when enemy fighters attacked his unit with rocket-propelled grenades.
Lawrence, who was from Nashville, was a 2004 graduate of APSU and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. His best friend and fraternity brother, Charlie Partain, said the death of Lawrence is especially difficult for the chapter, who in August mourned the death of another brother, Matt McCurdy a firefighter from Cumberland Furnace.
“It’s been tough on our chapter the last few months,” Partain said.
The loss, though, has not kept Partain and his fellow Sig Ep brothers from celebrating the life of a member they all knew well.
“If you didn’t know Josh, you knew of him,” Partain said.
Lawrence and Partain began at APSU together in 2000. They lived in Harvill Hall together before becoming roommates at the Sig Ep fraternity house.
Partain joined the fraternity in the fall of 2000, and Lawrence joined in Spring 2001. Lawrence was Partain’s little brother, the beginning of a friendship that lasted throughout their collegiate career and beyond.
Partain said the Sig Ep brotherhood — and the brotherhood among soldiers — carried itself 10,000 miles into the face of war.
When Lawrence was killed, Partain said Maj. Siegfried Ramil, a fellow Sig Ep, carried Lawrence’s body to the helicopter that evacuated his body from the battlefield.
“It was nice a brother carried him off the battlefield and sent him home,” Partain said.
Lawrence began his APSU career as a chemistry major, but shortly after the attacks of 9/11, Partain said Lawrence decided to change his major to political science. Partain said he can only assume the attacks played into his decision to switch majors, later confirmed by his commitment to the military.
“It was something he wanted to do — be able to help,” Partain said.
Lawrence had been awarded the Bronze Star and numerous other medals during his military career. Lawrence rarely spoke of his military experiences when the two would occasionally catch up.
“I was lucky enough to call Josh my friend, but even more important than that my best friend,” Partain said. TAS