Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Clarence Spencer reported killed in Iraq

FORT WORTH - The body of Clarence Spencer, a former high school star athlete and student leader in Fort Worth, is headed home after he was killed while serving in Iraq.

Spencer served three tours in Iraq, but his mother, Juanita Spencer Cole, said he felt he had to go back again. The mother and son gave each other one last hug before he left on his fourth and final tour in Iraq.

"I'm going to be okay momma," she said he told her. "Don't worry; I'm going to be back."

However, Cole found out he wouldn't be coming home when soldiers came to her house in east Fort Worth Sunday.

"My Godson called me and said, 'The army people are here at your house and it's not going to be good momma," Cole said.

As the soldiers informed Cole of her 24-year-old son's death, she said everything went quiet and black.

"Once they told me, I didn't hear nothing," she said. "I didn't see nothing. I just passed out."

While Cole said she knows little about how her son died, there was plenty to share on how he lived.

At Dunbar High School he led a Junior ROTC platoon and made all-district in football.

"He had the grades to go on and get a scholarship," said Sgt. 1st Class Don Harris. "He opted to do this. I tried to talk him into going to college."

Spencer joined the Marines right out of Dunbar High School in 2001. He was wounded in Iraq, retired from the Marine Corps and joined the Army to stay close to his little girl and mom.

"He hated that word baby," Cole said of her son. "'Momma, I'm 20-something-years-old. Why you still calling me baby?' You could be 50, you're still my baby."

Cole said she still checks daily for his e-mails.

"I'm not accepting that my baby is gone until I actually see him," she said.

Texas has lost nearly 300 service members in Iraq. Twenty-seven of those have been from Houston. San Antonio has lost 23, and there have been 14 military deaths in Fort Worth.

The most recent was Pvt. Clarence Spencer.