Roadside blast kills Mississippi soldier

A soldier from Mississippi and a soldier from Michigan were killed in Baghdad last Thursday when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle, the Defense Department said Monday.

Army Sgt. Courtland A. Kennard, 22, of Starkville, Miss., and Staff Sgt. Gregory McCoy, 26, of Webberville, Mich., were assigned to the Army's 410th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade based out of Fort Hood, Texas.

West Memorial Funeral Home in Starkville is handling arrangements for Kennard, but plans were incomplete Monday. His family could not immediately be reached.

The Associated Press has counted at least 45 soldiers with strong Mississippi ties who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One, Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Robinson, died in Afghanistan, while the others died in Iraq.