Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Le Ron A. Wilson dies 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'

WHEN Le Ron Wilson was seven, his father hugged him and said that the time had come for him to sleep in his own bed, to start learning to become a man.

Four years later Wilson left his father in Trinidad and went to live with his mother, Simona Francis, in Queen's, New York, USA.

Wilson, the only child of his parents, grew up to be the independent man his father wanted so much, that Lawrence Wilson was unable to convince his son not to join the United States Army.

Wilson always wanted to be like his dad-a Cadet Force major-to proudly wear a military uniform. It was his childhood dream that killed him: His life was snuffed out by a roadside bomb in Iraq on Friday.

Even more sadly for Lawrence, his son left for the killing fields of Iraq on his father's birthday, May 7, this year.

"This feels like falling with nothing to hold on to. I don't know what next to do. You're just falling, falling, hoping for some ground, some answer to this whole thing," Lawrence said yesterday during an interview at his San Juan home.

"Look at this boy's face. The baby milk still there. I never wanted this for him. I don't know what to feel, what to say. It is one thing to bury your parents, but your son..."

Lawrence is a Cadet Force major and the longest serving adjutant in the history of the force in Trinidad and Tobago.

Private Le Ron Wilson, in the army a mere months, became one of the latest US casualties in Iraq, killed when an explosively formed penetrator exploded near his patrol taking him and an Iraqi interpreter.

Wilson died around 2 a.m. on Friday in southeastern Baghdad and was one of nine US troops killed on the day.

Explosively formed penetrators are high-tech bombs that the US believes are provided by Iran. A charge the Iranians have denied.

Wilson died four months shy of his nineteenth birthday.

It was his second brush with death in the three months he was in Iraq.

Two weeks ago a roadside bomb exploded near his patrol, luckily for him that time the armoured Hummer protected his life.

Like any other parent, Lawrence said when he spoke to his son as he was about to leave for Iraq he supported him but hoped that he would come back home.

He never got the chance to speak with his son while he was in Iraq, though Wilson was able to send a few e-mails to his mother and call her on a couple of occasions.

"I never thought it could be my son. You always feel that bad things don't happen to good people."

Wilson is the second Trinidadian to be killed in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003. The first was Pte Kendell Frederick, 21, who died while awaiting his citizenship papers.

"Le Ron was always a little soldier. He reached the age to make his own decisions so I could not talk him out of it," Lawrence said about his son joining the US Army.

"I could not even convince him to join as a commissioned officer, his dream was to go through the ranks."

Wilson enlisted after graduating from high school and was promoted twice during pre-training.

"By the time actual training had started he was already the senior man in his unit at seventeen and a half," Lawrence said.

Wilson was shipped to Iraq right after his training ended.

Ironically, when he enlisted Wilson was told that he would not be sent to Iraq.

Instead Wilson trained as a weapons specialist and was supposed to replace someone at another security agency.

During his training Wilson placed top in a battalion of over 600 and twice won soldier of the month.

"I don't know how he end up in Iraq," Lawrence said.

In less than two months in Iraq Wilson became the scout for his squad.

"I felt it was a bit too early. Le Ron was a bit too green for that duty."

Lawrence feels that the Americans should pull out of Iraq as they have lost more soldiers than the total number of people killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Towers.

Over 3,600 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the start of the war.

So far Lawrence said that the military has not released much information about his son's death and that his body is expected to be flown back to the United States in two weeks.

"Le Ron was bright as a bulb, always topping what he did. He could have been the next Colin Powell. He joined the army because he felt he was being of service to humanity. That was the kind of person he was."

From the Trinidad Express