Thursday, August 16, 2007

Daniel (William D.) Scates dies 'of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device'

The last time he saw his mother, Army Staff Sgt. William D. Scates said he was apprehensive of going back to Iraq, concerned he would never see his family again.

But like many warriors, the 31-year-old Scates told his mother it was his duty to return because "it's my job."

Scates was killed Saturday at Arab Jabour, Iraq, after a bomb exploded near him, according to the Department of Defense.

Three other soldiers with him were killed. They were identified as Sgt. Scott L. Kirkpatrick, 26, of Reston, Va.; Sgt. Andrew W. Lancaster, 23, of Stockton, Ill.; and Spc. Justin O. Penrod, 24, of Mahomet, Ill.

All four had been assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga.

Moreana Whitson said Tuesday it was her son's third tour in Iraq, and his fourth tour in the Army, previously having been in Bosnia.

She said her son had had a lifelong passion to join the military.

"When he was a little boy," she said, "he was always drawing pictures of soldiers. That's all he ever wanted to be."

Scates graduated from Western Heights High School in Oklahoma City and soon fulfilled his lifelong dream.

His mother said he joined the Army National Guard and later enlisted in the active Army.

Even as a youngster, Scates was honing his skills to someday become a soldier.

Whitson said her son was a Boy Scout, rising to Eagle Scout, and he also was a member of the Young Marines and the Explorers.

She said the last time she saw her son was last spring, when he came home for a couple of weeks of leave.

It was during this time that Scates told her about his concerns about returning to Iraq again.

However, his mother said he was steadfastly dutybound.

"He loved the military. He loved defending his country," his mother said.

"He was a hero, our hero. He was good to our family," she said.

"He was very good looking, and he was well-loved, very well thought of. Everyone loved him," she said.

Funeral arrangements are pending, but his mother said it was her son's wish to be buried in Texas, possibly in the El Paso area.

Scates' wife, Raquel, is from El Paso, and the two met while he was training at nearby Fort Bliss, his mother said.

"He knew his wife would return to Texas, so I know he wanted to be buried where his wife and daughters would be," Whitson said.

Scates has two daughters, Jade, 9, and 7-month-old Kendra, both living with their mother in the Fort Stewart area of Georgia.

In addition to his mother, Scates is also survived by his stepfather, Randy Whitson; and two sisters, Courtney Champagne of Idaho and Shannon Scates of Oklahoma City.

Scates' father, William Leon Scates, died when he was a child.

From the Tulsa World