(INDY STAR) -- James Foley, the Indiana National Guard says, will be greatly missed by the men and women of the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Foley, a 40-year-old freelance photographer who was embedded with the Indiana soldiers in Iraq in 2008, was beheaded by Islamic State militants in a video posted online Tuesday. In the video, a black-clad man said the execution was a revenge killing for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.
Foley's death weighed heavily on those who got to know him personally and professionally, including troops with the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
"The Indiana National Guard sends our deepest condolences to the family of James Foley," the statement said. "He was able to document the war and tell the story to the American public from the perspective of the Soldier. He was very well liked by many of the troops and had a genuine appreciation for them and the job they were required to do.
"The Soldiers he served alongside in the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will certainly miss him."
Foley, a New Hampshire native, worked for several years as a video journalist in the Middle East. He covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, in 2011, was among four journalists detained by the Libyan military. Foley was freed after 44 days.
Foley was covering the Syrian civil war when he was kidnapped in 2012.
Mark Massé, a journalism professor at Ball State University and author of the 2011 book "Trauma Journalism: On Deadline in Harm's Way," said Foley was a rare individual who brought news from overseas into American homes.
"The misperception is that freelancers like Foley are adrenaline junkies," Massé said in a statement. "But in my interviews and research, the motive for the vast majority of these foreign correspondents is to bear witness so audiences can learn about what is happening in conflict zones around the world.
"They are not risking their lives for the thrill of confronting danger. These rare individuals believe that as journalists they have a responsibility to put themselves at risk so that people will be informed and enlightened."
The USA Today contributed to this story. Call Star reporter Justin L. Mack at (317) 444-6138. Follow him on Twitter: @justinlmack.