Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Army Pvt. Randol S. Shelton

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pvt. Randol S. Shelton, 22, of Schiller, Park, Ill.

Pvt. Shelton was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died Sept. 4, 2007 in Baghdad of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Sgt. Joel L. Murray and Spc. David J. Lane.

Chicago Tribune -- U.S. Army Infantry Pvt. Randol S. "Randy" Shelton was planning to go to a Bears game and be the guest of honor at several family parties next week after his arrival from Iraq on Wednesday. But the 22-year-old never got to go on leave to his Schiller Park home.

"The sad thing about it is he was scheduled to come home," said his father, Bryan Shelton. "I had planned my vacation time around him coming home. He had his heart set on going to a Bears game."

Randol S. Shelton died with two other soldiers on Tuesday from wounds inflicted by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, the Defense Department said in a statement.

Shelton, Sgt. Joel L. Murray, 26, of Kansas City, and Spc. David J. Lane, 20, of Emporia, Kan., were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

Shelton, who joined the Army almost two years ago, was sent to Iraq in late December, his father said. The East Leyden High School graduate went into the military in an attempt to gain direction.

"He was just trying to better himself, get some things going for himself," the older Shelton said. "Once he got out he wanted to go to college and have some money for college."

Bryan Shelton said his son dreamed of opening his own business, possibly a restaurant, one day. In the meantime, however, he was just looking forward to coming home.

Randy Shelton was very family oriented, his father said. Three weeks was the longest amount of time between calls from him. Even if he couldn't talk a long time, he would check in to let his parents know he was all right.

"He was a beautiful son," Bryan Shelton said. "He has an older brother and a younger sister. And they just adored him. And they couldn't wait for him to come home."

Randy Shelton had purposely waited as long a possible to take his leave so he would not be overseas as long after it was over, his father said.

"He would say, 'Dad, some days are good and some days are bad,' " his father recalled. "He didn't hate what he was doing, but he didn't love it. He was there to do a job."

Nevertheless, his grandmother, Carol Shelton, 71, said he was proud to be serving his country. She said her grandson called her regularly as well.

"We're all very proud of him, and we're all devastated," she said.

Although Randy Shelton's body has not yet arrived home, his family started making funeral arrangements Friday.

"It was devastating; it doesn't seem real," his father said. "We've had to make arrangements that I regret that any family would have to make."

Army Pvt. Randol S. Shelton was killed in action on 9/4/07.

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