THOMSON - The brutal Sunday attack on two soldiers in Mosul, Iraq, claimed the life of a soldier from McDuffie County.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Wilson, 45, of the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, was confirmed Monday as one of the victims, said Army spokesman Joe Burlas. The 101st Airborne is based at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Family members gathered Monday at Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson's mother's house in Thomson, mourning the loss. The Rev. Fred Favors, the family's pastor at Springfield Baptist Church, said they were not ready to make a public statement.
"It's a very tough time for the family today," he said. "They are just dealing with the freshness of this. They are really in the grieving process right now and mourning the loss of their son, father and brother."
Linnette Bowman remembers Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson from their days at Pine Street Elementary School.
"He was soft-spoken, well-mannered and good-looking," Ms. Bowman said. "He was an usher and in the choir at church and had close ties with his mother," she said. "He was a role model."
Family friend Ray Cummings said he remembered Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson as a "super person. You could never meet a better person than him."
The career soldier joined the Army on June 4, 1976 - right after his graduation from Thomson High School.
Mr. Cummings said Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson was an exemplary soldier.
"He probably won every medal there was to win," Mr. Cummings said. "This guy loved his job. If he had to go out, he died doing something he really loved."
One of Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson's two sons is Deputy Mantrell Wilson, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson and Spc. Rel A. Ravago, of Glendale, Calif., were killed when their vehicle was attacked in Mosul. Iraqis shot both soldiers while they were driving through a neighborhood.
Witnesses said their vehicle crashed into a wall, and an Iraqi mob made up of mostly teenagers pulled them from the car onto the ground and bludgeoned them with concrete blocks.
Army Maj. Joe Yoswa, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday that there was no indication the men were beaten with rocks or that their bodies were mutilated. The official said Iraqis robbed the car the two soldiers were driving and stole personal effects from their bodies.
Staff Writers Melissa Hall and Timothy Cox contributed to this article. Associated Press reports were also used.