Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Frank (Francis M.) Trussel Jr dies of 'wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his position'

Spc. Francis “Frank” M. Trussel Jr., a 21-year-old former foster child who had two little boys of his own, joined the Army because he dreamed of a career and a family.

But his dreams were cut short. Trussel died May 26 in Tahrir, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his position, said the U.S. Department of Defense in a statement Tuesday.

Friends of the 2003 DeLand-Weldon High School graduate remembered a hard-working, happy man who went out of his way to help others.

“He was an awesome person and would bend over backwards for anybody,” said Cody McDermith, of Champaign, his friend of about 4½ years. “If he could do something for somebody, he would.”

Trussel lived in a number of foster homes in various locations while growing up, McDermith said. Trussel attended college for a year in Lincoln before joining the Army “because it’s just a route to go for job opportunities,” McDermith added.

Trussel was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, the Defense Department statement said. He left for Iraq earlier this spring, McDermith said.

McDermith said was not worried about his friend at the time because he had another friend who went to Iraq and came back OK.

Now he tries not to think about the death of his friend.

“I don’t know — the more I think about it, the more depressed I get,” said McDermith, who will be a pallbearer.

Lucas Reeser, who also was in Trussel’s 23-member graduating class said Trussel’s death reminded him how fragile life is.

“I think it opened my eyes — like when I heard it I was real sad,” he said.

He said the war in Iraq didn’t seem real to him until after his friend died. “I started watching the news more,” he said.

Reeser recalled Trussel’s time playing high school basketball. “They said he was one of the hardest workers,” he said.

Mary Ingersoll of Weldon, mother of Bill Ingersoll, another of Trussel’s classmates, also remembered Trussel fondly.

“He was a very happy kid — always upbeat — always trying to cheer other people up,” she said.

From the Pantagraph