Monday, October 09, 2006

Army Pfc. Phillip B. Williams

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Phillip B. Williams, 21, of Gardnerville, Nev.

Pfc. Williams was assigned to the 4th Brigade Troop Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Oct. 9 from injuries sustained from enemy contact during combat operations in Baghdad.

A Gardnerville resident died of injuries he received in Baghdad while manning the gun on top of an armored vehicle in Iraq, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Wednesday.

Army Pfc. Phillip Williams, 21, was guarding soldiers who were searching for roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices. Further details were not immediately available, including the time of Williams' death.

His uncle, Brian Williams, a South Lake Tahoe police sergeant, said military officials notified the family on Monday night that Phillip Williams had been killed.

Williams was assigned to the 4th Brigade Troop Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell, Ky. He had attended Scarselli Elementary School, Pa Wa Lu Middle School, and Douglas High School, all in Gardnerville.

"He was a typical 21-year-old, loved to crack jokes," Brian Williams said. "You couldn't get a swear word out of him, and he never got into trouble."

Phillip Williams' body was scheduled to be flown to Dover Air Force Base in Maryland today. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Williams received his GED last year at age 20 and wanted to be a police officer but was too young, family said Wednesday. Instead, he enlisted in the Army in February, against the wishes and advice of his father, South Lake Tahoe police Sgt. Brad Williams, said Brian Williams.

"He said, 'Dad, I've grown up in your shoes, and I know what it's like to worry about someone who risks himself in the service of others.' He wanted to be a part of the family heritage. He couldn't wait," Brian Williams said.

The Williams family had a reunion in August when Phillip Williams came home to Northern Nevada from Iraq to help celebrate his sister Amy's 16th birthday.

Before he left, he described chaos in Iraq and how concerned he was about going back to Iraq, Brian Williams said. Phillip Williams' job was to provide security for military officers who received calls about possible bombs.

"He said it was a hard place, and it was scary but in the next breath he would say, 'This is my job, and these guys are counting on me,'" said Brian Williams.

'He loved Nevada'

Phillip Williams once told his father he wanted to be buried in Minden, where he spent much of his life. "He did not want to be buried in Arlington (National Cemetery)," Brian Williams said. "He loved Nevada. This was his home, he was proud of his state, high school and friends."

"Phillip wore the name Williams very well, he brought honor to the family life as he did in death," Brian Williams said.

Phillip Williams is the eldest son of Brad Williams, the South Lake Tahoe sergeant.

"Phillip's dad is dealing with a lot of hurt right now, it's not been easy for any of us," said Shelly Williams, Brian's wife and the soldier's aunt. "Phillip was a joy to be around. We were very proud of him."

He is among 26 U.S. military personnel from Nevada and at least 43 with ties to the state who have died in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"He has served our nation in the way that we should be grateful for on a day to day basis,' said Paul Boyce, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Army. "As an infantryman, he was a combat soldier on the tip of the spear. He was on the front lines."

Army Pfc. Phillip B. Williams was killed in action on 10/09/06.

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