Thursday, July 15, 2010

Army Staff Sgt. Leston M. Winters

Remember Our Heroes

Army Staff Sgt. Leston M. Winters, 30, of Sour Lake, Texas

SSgt. Winters was assigned to 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died July 15, 2010 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Staff Sergeant Leston M. Winters joined the Army in July of 1998 and arrived at Fort Campbell in 2010. He served as a civil affairs medical sergeant and was promoted to Staff Sergeant posthumously.

After two tours of duty in Iraq, Leston Michael Winters decided in February to leave his position in a Missouri Army hospital to return to the front lines.

Over the Christmas holidays, the medic told his family he felt compelled to be there.

On Thursday, three months after arriving in Afghanistan, Winters, 30, was killed by an improvised explosive device in the Zhari district of Kandahar Province.

"He had an opportunity to stay home," said longtime family friend Shodi Jacobson, 47. "This was his service. He reenlisted because he could help. This is what he was good at."

Born in Florida, Winters - called Tony by his friends family - moved with his mother and stepfather to Sour Lake at age 9. He did not become serious about sports or schoolwork, only on practical jokes and clowning, his family said.

He put lizards in his sister's bed and became quick friends with classmates. The slightly built Winters played a little football in high school and tried rodeos and claimed he would never grow up.

Winters loved to hunt and fish - but was never very good at it, said his stepfather, Carl Spivey, 47. He caused little trouble, his stepfather said, and was baptized at the First Baptist Church.

He earned many awards and decorations for his service including:

Army Commendation Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; and Weapons Qualification: M4, expert.

Army Staff Sgt. Leston M. Winters was killed in action on 7/15/10.

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