Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Army SSgt. Laurent J. West

Remember Our Heroes

Army SSgt. Laurent J. West, 32, of Raleigh, N.C.

SSgt. West was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. He died March 11, 2008 near Kishkishkia, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

News & Observer -- Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry West said his son, Laurent, came to him as a teenager expressing interest in joining the Army.

"I said, 'Why?' He said, 'Because you're in the military and I'm so proud of you,' " the elder West said by phone from his Green Spring, W.Va., home Friday night. "I told him, 'When you're up to your neck in the water in the foxhole, and it's people yelling at you, it won't be me out there with you.' "

He joined anyway.

Staff Sgt. Laurent J. West, 32, an Army brat who made a home in many states as a child, was killed when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device March 11near Kishkishkia, Iraq.

West, a cavalry scout, was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. Bradley, a cargo specialist, was assigned to the 7th Special Troops Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Eustis, Va.

West, of Southport, joined the Army in July 1993 as a member of the Chemical Corps. He switched to cavalry scout in 1998.

West had served tours overseas several times, including two to Bosnia in 1998 and 2000. West's awards include the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two silver oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal with three loops, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service ribbon and the Combat Action and Parachutist's badges.

Besides his father, he is survived by his wife, Michelle West; stepdaughters, Nistasha and Madison; and his mother, Ilona Bauer.

Army SSgt. Laurent J. West was killed in action on 3/11/08.

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