Sgt. James Allen Slape, as 23-year-old from Morehead City died Oct. 4 from wounds caused by an improvised explosive device in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Gov. Roy Cooper in a statement said National Guard members “leave their homes, their families and their jobs and put their lives on the line for us.”
Slape was promoted to the rank of sergeant posthumously, according to a news release. The incident is under investigation.
Slape’s unit had deployed to Afghanistan in April and is scheduled to return in the spring.
On Monday morning, Slape’s family released photos of Slape and his family, which can be seen above, as well as a statement:
We, the family and friends of North Carolina Army National Guard Sgt. James Slape, would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. There are no words to express how much we miss James already. He was a loving husband, a devoted son and a true hero to his country.
Sergeant Slape’s mother Trish and father Jim expressed their feelings by saying, “We have always been proud of our son, and have always told him that he was capable of becoming anything that he set his mind to. This is what he chose, and this is where he knew he needed to be. We love him and he will always be a part of us.”
Sergeant James Slape was promoted to the rank of sergeant posthumously. Governor Roy Cooper ordered U.S. and N.C. flags to be lowered to half-staff Tuesday, October 9, 2018, in honor of Sgt. Slape.
Sergeant Slape’s wife Shawn expressed her feelings by stating, “If you were lucky enough to know James, you would agree that there are infinite amounts of positive things to say. James and I would always argue who loved the other person more. Though it was playful, I can say that he loved me more, as he literally put his life on the line for myself and the rest of our country. My husband was one of the strongest people I know and he loved spending time with his friends.”
Sgt. Slape’s unit, the 430th Explosive Ordnance Company, based in Washington, N.C., deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support, in April 2018. The unit is scheduled to return to the U.S. in the spring of 2019.
Sergeant Slape’s brother, William, a private in the U.S. Army stated, “I have seen that some people’s reaction to a loss like this is to back down from the fight. I believe that instead of being discouraged, it should create a spark in everyone to continue the fight. After experiencing this loss first hand, it has instilled a greater feeling of responsibility to complete the mission that my brother has fought and died for.”
Sgt. James Slape joined the North Carolina National Guard in 2013 and graduated from the Explosive Ordnance School as an Explosive Ordnance Specialist in 2015.
Sgt. Slape is the 26th North Carolina Army National Guard Soldier to be killed in action, since September 11, 2001.”