Sunday, July 01, 2007

Derek C. Dixon dies 'while conducting combat operations'

RIVERSIDE — Marine Cpl. Derek C. Dixon's grandmother, Glenda Brightman, was expecting a call with news from her grandson Tuesday.

But not the one she got.

"The last time I talked to him was on the 16th," Brightman said Wednesday. "He said he would be on patrol for 10 days, so I was expecting him to call me (Tuesday). But when I came home from work, the Marines were here."

Brightman said Dixon came home from Camp Lejeune, N.C., on March 15 and left for Iraq on March 25.

"I talked to him before he left," his sister, Mindy Trochelman, said. "He said he was ready to go, but he was scared."

Brightman described her grandson as "a very pleasant person," highly intelligent and gifted with computer skills.

"Even when he was real young, he always knew he was going to do something wearing a uniform," she said. "He was such a good kid, and I'm not just saying that because he was mine. He just wanted to learn more and more, all he could. He mainly joined (the Marines) because it was a way for him get all this school."

Brightman said Dixon was interested in law enforcement, active in Explorers Post No. 763 as a teen, and still in touch with his adviser, Riverside police Officer Jeff Wightman. Wightman was stunned to learn of Dixon's death.

"He was a great kid, very intelligent, very dedicated to whatever he did, and he's going to be missed," Wightman said. "He stopped by numerous times to see me, dressed in full gear. He was very proud of what he was doing and proud of his achievements — and as I told him many times, I was very proud of him too."

From the Dayton Daily News