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Sgt Julia Velinda Atkins
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Birth: Nov. 14, 1983
Bossier City
Bossier Parish
Louisiana, USA
Death: Dec. 10, 2005
Baghdad, Iraq


Army Sgt. Julia V. Atkins, 22, of Bossier City, La.; assigned to the 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas; killed Dec. 10 when an improvised explosive device detonated near her Humvee during patrol operations in Baghdad.
Sgt. Julia Velinda Atkins, a military policewoman, was killed Dec. 10 when a terrorist bomb planted in a roadway detonated under her Humvee in Iraq.
"A family who remembers Julia Atkins as a fun-loving young woman proud of her new car and planning for the future will attend a memorial in her honor Sunday while they wait for her body to return home for a funeral and burial.
Atkins, 22, died Saturday when an improvised explosive device detonated under her military vehicle in Baghdad, where she was serving with the 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, based at Fort Hood, Texas.
"I'm proud of her," her distraught stepbrother, Larry Thomas, said Tuesday at the family home in Bossier City. "She was doing something she wanted to do."
Thomas, who served with the Louisiana Army National Guard's Shreveport-based 1/156th Armor Battalion's Bravo Compnay until early 2004, just before it deployed to service in Iraq, will attend the memorial for Atkins on Sunday at Fort Polk. With him will be their two sisters and his stepfather, Billy Atkins, a staff sergeant with the 1st Battalion's headquarters company. Atkins returned with other unit members in September after an 11-month deployment to Iraq, which followed months of training at Fort Hood and at Fort Irwin in the high desert of California.
Atkins was overcome with grief Tuesday. Larry Thomas said since his stepsister served in the active-duty Army and her dad was in the National Guard, their units' paths didn't cross in Iraq.
"Her dad didn't see her for a year while they were over there," Thomas said.
"But they spent a lot of time together at Fort Hood, as much as they could."
He said her dad was disappointed that their leaves home this summer saw the two just miss one another. "They were trying to set up their leaves, but they didn't mesh."
When Julia Atkins came home this summer, Thomas said, she was proud of her new car, a bright red 2004 Oldsmobile Alero. "She would get her nieces and nephews and get in that car and go.
"She loved to shop and she loved to eat. She was … she was just Julia, and I was looking forward to my sister coming home in February."
The family, while small, remains tightly knit. Thomas' mother, Johnnie Bell Atkins, died in July 1996. A sister, Tawanna Thomas, lives in Bossier City. Another, Shiri Thomas, lives at Fort Hood with her husband, Ricky Selby, who also is in the Army.
Julia Atkins planned to return to school and get married, Larry Thomas said. Atkins' fiancé also is in the Army and remains on duty in Iraq, where a memorial for her also will be held Sunday."
"I didn't known Sgt. Atkins, but I heard her commander and many soldiers talk highly of her," said the Army's top police officer, Maj. Gen. Donald J. Ryder, provost marshal general and commander of the Army's Criminal Investigation Command. "I heard that she had a personality and a bearing that would light up a room and that she was dedicated and professional."
Like all others in the U.S. military, and like her brother and father before her, she volunteered to serve and protect her country, a decision that ended her life at age 22. Atkins, who was on her second tour in Iraq, is the first local female soldier to die in combat.
"She left a legacy in her life her fellow soldiers will remember and take to their graves when they are 70," Ryder said.
At the burial in Haughton's Hill Crest Memorial Park Cemetery, after a trio of volleys that rent the air and elicited sobs from Atkins' father, siblings and many other relatives under a green canopy, Ryder handed the flag that draped her casket to her grieving father.
Billy Atkins is a sergeant with headquarters company, 1/156th Armor Battalion, and a popular cook with the Shreveport-based unit. He recently returned to Louisiana with other members of the 256th Brigade Combat Team, or Tiger Brigade, after an almost yearlong combat tour in Iraq.
"They put her away with pride," he said of the services for his daughter. "She will always be remembered by the great people in America. Her life did not end in vain."
Shiri Thomas Selby, one of Atkins' sisters, read a letter-poem that Atkins wrote two days before her death. It and a card another sister received in the mail the day Atkins died likely are the last messages she ever penned to her family.
"I thought it would be fitting to read it," Selby said.
Scores of Army personnel in green uniforms and a handful in desert-pattern camouflage were among the 200 or more who filled pews in First Baptist Church of Bossier City.
Battalion commander Lt. Col. Thomas Plunkett was at the funeral and burial, as were Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Stuckey, Sgt. 1st Class Gerald Giles and Sgt. 1st Class Roderick Spurlock.
Atkins' fiance, Spc. Keith Mack of Gary, Ind., was there. Like Atkins, he is a member of the 64th Military Police Co., 720th M.P. Battalion, 89th M.P. Brigade, in Task Force Baghdad.
"Now I'm happy for her," he said before her service, the first official military funeral he has attended. "She's in a far better place, far better than here."
He plans to stay in the military to complete the task for which she died.


Actual Burial 
Warriors Walk Memorial *
Liberty County
Georgia, USA
Plot: 287
*Cenotaph [?]
Created by: Elizabeth Olmstead
Record added: Jul 11, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14899350
Sgt Julia Velinda Atkins
Added by: TJ31324
Sgt Julia Velinda Atkins
Added by: Elizabeth Olmstead
Sgt Julia Velinda Atkins
Added by: Elizabeth Olmstead
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Christmas Blessings
- wings214
 Added: Dec. 9, 2013

- Michael
 Added: Sep. 11, 2013
In thankful memory of a Vet.
- Ruth Watson
 Added: Jul. 17, 2013
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