Friday, September 05, 2003

After spending more than 20 years in uniform, Staff Sgt. Joseph M. Camara turned in his retirement papers to the Rhode Island Army National Guard.

But defense officials barred the retirements of many soldiers after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, including that of Sgt. Camara and others in the 115th Military Police Company out of Cranston. In February, the unit was ordered to Iraq where an exploding land mine on Monday killed Sgt. Camara and Sgt. Charles Caldwell of North Providence on a road north of Baghdad.

"He had turned in his papers and served his time, but he didn't turn his back on his country," said his wife, Ana Camara, in an interview yesterday in front of her family's McGurk Street home.

"He loved being in the Army. He loved serving in the Police Department. I've lost my soulmate. My children have lost a wonderful father," she said.

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