When Marikay DeCrow, of Evans, heard about Thursdays shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, she said she spent hours desperately calling hospitals looking for husband -- Staff Sgt. Justin DeCrow.
But no one could find him anywhere, she said. No one could find my husband because he was gone.
Staff Sgt. DeCrow, 32, was fatally wounded along with 12 others when Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik began firing on fellow soldiers at a processing center at the large Army base.
Staff Sgt. DeCrow was there preparing for his deployment to Iraq, Fort Gordon spokesman Buzz Yarnell said this afternoon.
According to Fort Gordon, Staff Sgt. DeCrow was a satellite communications operator-maintainer, and had been assigned to a signal unit at Fort Hood since September. He was soon to be deployed.
He was not currently stationed at Fort Gordon, but had been assigned there in 2000 and apparently liked the area, Mr. Yarnell said.
His wife told Army officials this afternoon that she did not want to talk to the media or conduct interviews. However, through a military spokesman, Mrs. DeCrow said she wanted everyone to know what a loving man her husband was.
His infectious charm and wit always put others at ease, she said. He was well loved by everyone. He was a loving father and husband and he will be missed by all.
The couple have a 13-year-old daughter Kylah.
According to military and family members, Army Staff Sgt. DeCrow graduated from Plymouth High School, Plymouth, Ind., in 1996, married Marikay -- his high school sweetheart -- that spring and joined the Army in the summer.
He always wanted to be a soldier, his wife said.
When his current deployment ended, she said she hoped they could reunite at their home in Columbia County when another post at Fort Gordon opened up.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete, but the burial is expected to take place in Indiana, according to a military spokesman.
Staff Sgt. DeCrows father Daniel DeCrow, of Fulton, Ind., said he talked to his son last week to ask him how things were going at Fort Hood.
As usual, the last words out of my mouth to him were that I was proud of him, he told the Associated Press. Thats what I said to him every time that I loved him and I was proud of what he was doing. I can carry that around in my heart.
Information from The Associated Press, the U.S. Army and WSBT-TV in Indiana were used in this report.