Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Donnie D. Dixon dies 'of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire'

Lovelia Dixon spoke to her husband Donnie on Friday via video conference call, putting the wife face-to-face with the soldier stationed in Iraq.

The next morning, she woke up to a knock at the door and two grim, uniformed Army men on the other side.

Staff Sgt. Donnie Dixon, 37, died Sept. 29 in Baloor, Iraq, when insurgents attacked his unit with "small arms fire," military officials said Monday.

Dixon, one of four soldiers killed in combat Saturday in Iraq, was a Carol City High grad who chose the Army for his career, most recently working as a tank commander in the infantry. He was assigned to Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, and lived near there with his family.

It was his second tour in Iraq, and he was scheduled to return home next month, Lovelia Dixon said.

"I'm still trying to grasp the fact that it happened," she said, confusion still swirling in her mind from going to bed that night with the memory of her husband's smile from that conference call, to the abrupt news the following morning.

The couple had been married 14 years. They met in 1993 at the Publix distribution warehouse in Miami Gardens, where they both worked. After fours years in the Army, Donnie Dixon took a two-year break, unsure whether he would return.

"I saw him one day walking down the stairs and told everybody 'that's my husband,'" Lovelia Dixon said.

They dated a year, married and then Donnie Dixon re-enlisted in the Army. The couple said goodbye to relatives and friends and left South Florida in 1994.

They had four children, the oldest now 13.

When not at work, Donnie Dixon liked to grill.

"It could be 20 degrees out, and he'd be grilling," his wife said from Texas, recalling large cookouts with chicken and hamburgers. Everyone also raved about his homemade macaroni and cheese, she said.

In between the memories, Lovelia Dixon thinks about her husband's death.

It's still under investigation, she was told, with the details sparse.

There hasn't yet been much time to just sit and think about the future, including where and when the funeral service will be and if she will return to South Florida.

"I haven't gotten that far yet,"

From the Sun Sentinel

A career soldier killed in his second tour of duty in Iraq had talked about joining the military almost from the time he first began speaking, relatives said.

Staff Sgt. Donnie D. Dixon of Miami had toy soldiers as a boy, reminded his family at his high school graduation in 1988 that he wanted to enlist and left for boot camp on his 18th birthday, relatives said.

"He died doing what he always wanted to do: serve his country," said his mother, Dessie Dixon of Miami Gardens.

Dixon, 37, died Saturday in Baloor, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire, Pentagon officials said.

He drove a tank and was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. He planned to retire in three years, relatives said.

Dixon's mother last talked to him on his birthday, Sept. 20, when he called home. Other relatives sang him "Happy Birthday" and promised him a care package.

"At least we know he was laughing the last time we spoke to him, as we sang to him," his sister, Valencia Dixon, said.

Dixon told his family he had been patrolling buildings to make sure they were protected. He expected to be home by December.

Along with his mother, sister and younger brother, Dixon is survived by his wife and their four children, who live in Texas.

From the Miami Herald