Thursday, October 14, 2010

Army Pfc. Tramaine J. Billingsley

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Tramaine J. Billingsley, 20, of Portsmouth, Va.

Pfc. Billingsley was assigned to the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Oct. 14, 2010 while conducting combat operations between Moqur and Darreh-Ye-Bum, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Spc. Rafael Martinez Jr. and Sgt. Carlos A. Benitez.

A former Booker T. Washington student from Norfolk who was killed in Afghanistan is being described by friends and his former coach as an outgoing, strong-willed classmate who made them laugh.

Pfc. Tramaine Billingsley, 20, was riding in a convoy Thursday when it was struck by an improvised explosive device, said Travis Billingsley, his brother. The soldier was among three who were killed, he said.

Travis Billingsley, Tramaine's older brother, said he was a happy person, full of life, who could get along with anyone.

At Booker T. he was a drum major, was in the NJROTC and played varsity soccer.

"There are not enough words that I can put together to describe the likability and charisma of this fallen soldier," his brother Terrance Chambers said in an e-mail.

Tramaine Billingsley was sent to Afghanistan in July on a 12-month deployment. His brother Trevon returned this month after spending a year there. The brothers were in the vicinity of each other in Afghanistan for about a month, Travis Billingsley said. Tramaine 's twin, Tramal, is in the Navy and stationed in Italy.

"We loved him to the fullest and are deeply missing my little brother," Travis Billingsley said in an e-mail.

Janita Burgess Hess, who coached Billingsley on the soccer team for three years, was devastated Friday morning when a player called her to tell her the news. She described Billingsley as an energetic jokester who occasionally got under her skin. "He was just one of these guys - he was the biggest pain. ... He was the most fun." When she took over the team, the players were terrible soccer players. They slowly improved. Billingsley even scored a goal, then danced at center field.

Hess drove him to and from practice regularly. They talked about his home life and personal things. She remembers all the conversations.

As the news spread, Billingsley's friends posted condolences on Facebook.

Delvon Burrus was in the Booker T. band and ROTC with Billingsley. "He was outgoing, loud and very funny," Burrus said.

Marcelis L. Muriel also knew Billingsley from school. "He was a decorated ROTC cadet, a determined and strong-willed person and overall just a good guy," he said in an e-mail. "A person who would keep you laughing if you were around him."

Tracie Page was also in the band with him and friends with his twin brother and older sister. "He was a little guy with a big heart that would befriend anyone," Page said in an e-mail. "His efforts as a soldier have gained him respect from our nation, but his efforts at being a decent human being have gained him the respect of all who knew and loved him. He will undoubtedly be missed."

Army Pfc. Tramaine J. Billingsley was killed in action on 10/14/10.

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