Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Kile West remembered

Army 1st Lt. Kile West spent his school days in Hutto playing football, hunting birds and dreaming about the military.

"I know that when it came down to it, Kile was the kind of guy that, it didn't matter what the reason was, he was fighting for the person next to him," said Marc Parks, a childhood friend.

West, 23, was killed Monday in Abu Sayda, Iraq, by a roadside bomb. He and two other soldiers were on the way to rescue comrades in a downed helicopter when their Bradley fighting vehicle was hit.

West was stationed in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, as part of the 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood.

The morning he was killed, West had been promoted to first lieutenant, family friend Cindy Allen-Lott said.

Although West breathed military — watching war movies such as "We Were Soldiers" and complaining to his former boss when he wasn't assigned to an Army infantry division — he's remembered by family members and friends as a protective big brother, a loyal friend and a determined man who had his life planned out.

Growing up, he took care of his mother and younger sisters, Kara and Kelly, Allen-Lott said.

West made sure the doors were locked every night. He scrutinized his sisters' dates.

He's still known in his old neighborhood just outside the Hutto city limits for rounding up friends to take care of a grackle problem while the adults were at work.

It was during those bird hunts that West and Parks talked the most: about girls, football and just about everything else.

He was most comfortable in the country, where he grew up playing washers and horseshoes, or gathering with friends for field parties.

He was a typical Texas guy, family members and friends say. He liked Texas country music by artists such as Cory Morrow and Robert Earl Keen.

He wanted to go to graduate school at Texas A&M University and then buy a ranch. He liked barbecue. He liked beer.

And he played high school football, helping his team get to the class 2A playoffs in 2000.

"He was a really hardworking kid and showed up every day, busted his rear and worked his way into being a really good player," Hutto Coach Lee Penland said.

The team was close. They were all together last fall at a teammate's wedding, just before West left for Iraq.

After graduating from high school in 2001, West attended Blinn College and then graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University as a member of the ROTC.

During school breaks, he worked at a furniture installation company in Austin. West was an ideal, hardworking employee, said Jack Drewien, his former boss at the furniture company.

He expected the best from others in his life as well.

"If you didn't live up to it, he'd give you a hard time about it," West friend Stacy Stanley said. "He'd let you know."

From the Statesman

Related Link:
Kile Grant West reported killed in Iraq