Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Will Chambers remembered

A 2006 Ringgold High School graduate was killed in Iraq on Sunday.

Lance Cpl. Will Chambers, a 20-year-old Marine, died when the boat he was in while crossing the Euphrates River between Al Anbar and Albu Hyatt capsized about 75 feet from shore.

He was with the Charlie Company, Third Platoon, Third Battalion and had planned to have a career in the military.

The family knows little about how he was killed. They learned the news when Marine officials arrived at their Ringgold home off U.S. 41 just after 8 a.m. Monday morning and delivered them an official-looking paper bearing few details.

Maj. James Creamer of Ringgold High’s JROTC said the incident is believed to be accidental.

Creamer worked with Will during his four years in the program. He said Will held several officer positions in JROTC and was in the color guard and honor guard.

“He was a real spirited kid,” Creamer said.

Will’s mother, Kathy, said her son was more enthusiastic about the military than any other extracurricular activities while he was in high school.

“It gave him discipline,” she said, “and he was able to pass that on.”

His friends agreed, recalling a strong-bodied Will who playfully wrestled with them for fun. He spent a little time playing high school football, but his main interest was in JROTC, family members said. He also enjoyed fishing and hunting.

Will’s immediate family includes Kathy, his father Darrell and three siblings: Allison, 18, Shane, 17, and Summer, 16. Several family members and friends stopped by the Chambers’ home on Monday.

Kathy and Darrell said the last time they talked to Will was Saturday. He said he wanted to come home, that he hated that place, Kathy said.

However, Creamer said Will was also proud of his military position and had worked hard to overcome a hernia he had when he entered the military. His basic training took six or seven months, Creamer said.

“He was real determined to be a Marine,” he said.

Jeanne Chambers, who bears the same last name but is not related to the family, has known Will since he was in 11th grade. She was his English teacher and Will hated English but loved her, she said. Ever since that time, he had stayed in touch with her and she sent cards and care packages to him.

A few months ago, he called her during her first period class. She was in the middle of a ninth grade English honors class that was doing research in the library when an announcement over the intercom instructed her to pick up the telephone to answer a call from Iraq.

At first, she had no idea who it was, but when Will’s voice came on the line, she was glad to hear from him.

“He said, ‘I just wanted to say hello and I just wanted to hear a voice from home,’” she said. “He was a little scared, but he said, ‘I’ll make it, I’ll be OK.’”

Chambers said she has always urged her students to support American soldiers regardless of their political takes on the war. Will, she said, is the epitome of the small-town American soldier who loves his family, loves fun and is a generally good guy.

The family saw him in person back in February when he came home for his grandfather’s funeral. Darrell said Will had a few days to spend time with the family, but much of that was spent dealing with the loss of his father.

Will had left for boot camp in January 2006. He went to Iraq in early March of this year, starting as a radio operator, then becoming an infantryman, his family said.

His 20th birthday was June 7.

The arrangements had yet to be finalized, but Darrell said the family hopes to have the burial in Ringgold and funeral service in Fort Oglethorpe.

From the Catoosa County News

Related Link:
Will Chambers reported killed when boat capsized during combat operations