Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Marine Lance Cpl. William B. Wightman

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. William B. Wightman,22, of Sabina, Ohio.

Lance Cpl Wightman died when his Amphibious Assault Vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device during combat operations south of Haditha, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Force Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Columbus, Ohio. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

Lance Cpl. William Brett Wightman grew up in Sabina, a Clinton County community about 30 miles southeast of Dayton, dreaming of being a U.S. Marine.

He enlisted as a reservist before graduating from East Clinton High School in 2002 and planned to re-enlist in the Marines in October. The 23-year-old wanted to rise to the top of the service, his relatives said.

"He said, 'People are upset because we're over here fighting,' " said his aunt, Missy Luttrell of Sabina. "But he said, 'We just rescued some children from this house. And if you could have seen the looks on their faces and how glad they were to see us, it made it all worthwhile.' So he believed in what he was doing."

Wightman was fulfilling a dream he had since he was 3.

"He would play with those GI Joes and he'd say, 'I'm going to grow up and be one of these guys,' " Luttrell said. "All of his life, that's all he would talk about."

When Wightman was called to active duty in December, he left his job as a carpenter at Palm Harbor Homes in Sabina but hoped to return soon, said Ted Wright, the company's human resources manager.

"He was a little apprehensive, as any of us would be about going into harm's way, but he was glad to do it to serve his country," Wright said. "He told us not to worry about him, he felt he would be fine."

From his home in Washington Court House on Thursday, Wightman's father, Keith Wightman, wept as he recounted the life and death of his only child.

"It happened. It happened. I prayed everyday that it wouldn't," he said. "But he did his duty and he made us all proud here in this little part of the state. I just pray to God he went fast and all the boys in that vehicle went fast and didn't suffer."

The grieving 47-year-old father found comfort in remembering how his son excelled at football, basketball and track in high school, and that his military service allowed him to travel to places like Iceland, Ireland and Israel.

The last time they saw each other before Brett Wightman left for the war was Jan. 11, his 23nd birthday. They ate dinner at a steakhouse. Then, they hugged. He got into his pickup truck and drove off to pick up a friend.

"I hated to let him go but you know the future is there for them and all my life I tried to tell him there are no obstacles," Keith Wightman said. "He wanted to be a Marine."

Once his son was overseas, his father looked forward to his phone calls.

"In his last talk with me he said he was anxious to come home," his father said.

"What gets me through this is I believe in God and I believe one day I will see him again," he said. "I am going to say, 'Hey, where have you been? I missed you.' "

Marine Lance Cpl. William B. Wightman was killed in action on 08/03/05.

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