Six years ago, she awaited the arrival of her only son, Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Wilson, 45, from Iraq. The wait ended with his death in Mosul after an attack on his Humvee on Nov. 23, 2003.
At the end of this month, Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson's youngest son, Capt. Sydney Wilson, is scheduled to return from a second tour in Iraq.
"I hope and pray he gets back home soon. I'm just as proud of him as I was of Jerry," she said at her Thomson home last week.
During the many conversations Mrs. Wilson and her son shared, they never spoke of his service. The two chatted jovially about family and memories.
"He never wanted me to know how bad it was," she said. "We would just talk about everything else. He was my best friend."
The warmhearted, mild-mannered Thomson High School graduate enlisted in the Army right after high school in 1976. He loved the discipline and the daily physical challenge, Mrs. Wilson said. He went on to teach ROTC in Ohio. Along the way, his 28 years of service had an effect on his two sons, Mantrell, now 32, and Capt. Wilson, 27.
"He spent a lot of time with them when he came back home," she said.
Mantrell Wilson is now a deputy in the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
Like his father, Capt. Wilson does not speak much about his service overseas, Mrs. Wilson said.
"I know he thinks about his father when he's over there," she said.
Today will be no different from every other day for Mrs. Wilson. She celebrates her son's service each day, and the license plate on her car reads 'CSM JLW.'
"That way I can take him with me wherever I go," she said.