Trini-born US fallen soldier to be honoured Sunday

By Marlene Augustine
July 4 2014 –

Operation Iraqi FreedomOn Sunday, July 6, Marli Street will be co-named with that of Private First Class (PFC) Le Ron Adrian Wilson, a Trinidad-born, US soldier who died at the age of 18, while serving in “Operation Iraqi Freedom” in Baghdad, in 2007.

In a release from the Port-of-Spain Corporation, it was stated that the name of PFC Le Ron Wilson Way, will be added to Marli Street in dedication of this young soldier who fell in the line of duty.

Mayor of Port-of-Spain, Raymond Tim Kee and members of the council will collaborate with the Ministry of National Security, the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force and the United States Embassy to pay tribute at the historic event. A memorial service will proceed at the All Saints Church at 3.30 pm, immediately followed by an unveiling of the name plaque to be added to Marli Street.

Newsday spoke with Wilson’s father, Major Lawrence Wilson, who said he was happy and honoured the activity was happening.

“I am happy and honoured that this activity is happening to commemorate and recognise a son of the soil, a Trinidadian-born, who did extremely well in his service,”his father said.

According to his father, there were also mixed feelings on the matter, because while this is happening, there is also a lot of sadness to this initiative. “I am aware on how I felt all these years…it has been seven years not having his name in some way recognised… so that I feel the pain for other families in the same position… I know now, there was a unit formed two years ago, out of the Ministry of National Security, now starting to treat fallen service men with greater respect, so I am also happy for that unit as well,” he said.

He revealed the family had a lot of support and was assured the event will take place.

“It has been seven years, and as time heals, there is a permanent whole. Around this time every year, it is very hard, because the absence of his name not being remembered was very hard to deal with. Any soldier, police officer fall in the line of duty, is not only their job, but it is a sacrifice someone give to humanity, defending their peace from that perspective,” he said.

In 2006, Wilson was the youngest soldier to enlist in the United States Army. One year later, at 18, he was the youngest to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Baghdad. However, he was declared an American hero.

He was awarded the prestigious Purple Heart and Bronze Star, as well as badges for good conduct and courage.


6 thoughts on “Trini-born US fallen soldier to be honoured Sunday”

  1. It is just wonderful to know that a foreign born soldier
    gave his life for the freedom of many including Americans.
    It is also sad to lose a son as young as 18 years old.
    Strength comes from within knowing that this young man did
    what many did not do or will not do. He’s a true Hero.
    Gone but not forgotten.


    T&T must honour its heroes
    Slain US soldier’s dad:
    By Kim Boodram

    Story Created: Jul 6, 2014 at 9:54 PM ECT

    TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO must do better to honour those who do it service, the father of slain US-based soldier PFC Le Ron Wilson, who died in Iraq, said yesterday as his son’s name was formally attached to Marli Street, Port of Spain, in his memory.

    Major Lawrence Wilson, who lives in Trinidad, said he will now, seven years after his son’s death, champion those who have laid down their lives for their country and are yet to be honoured for it.

    Major Wilson said the names of those who died in the attempted coup of 1990 and those Trinidadians who were killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York city are generally not remembered.

    He plans to embark on a campaign to change that.
    PFC Wilson made headlines around the world when, in 2007, he became the youngest member of the military to die in Iraq.

    Wilson was killed after volunteering for a dangerous mission on a week-long patrol in South Baghdad. He had joined the Army for his 17th birthday and was killed after serving just one year.

    A new street sign that reads “FC Le Ron A Wilson Way” was yesterday placed under the existing Marli Street sign, seven years after the family’s request that it be done in his memory.

    Similar signs have gone up in several places across the United States, PFC Wilson’s mother, Simona Francis, said after yesterday’s memoriam.

    Major Wilson said his son has been honoured time and time again abroad, but here at home he and others like him were not so quick to be recognised.

    “For a service person, the only thing you have to give afterwards is your name,” Major Wilson said.
    “And for anyone who died in service, their name should live on.”

    Major Wilson was himself honoured for 35 years of service to the city of Port of Spain and is a Rotary Club of Port of Spain past president.

    Seeing the news last week of the shooting death of T&T Defence Force soldier, Lance Corporal Kayode Thomas, Major Wilson said he feels for the family, as no one would understand what they are going through.

    His own son taught him much, Major Wilson said, and among the lessons he taken away were “Enjoy life, respect life, love life.”

    Delivering the homily during a service at All Saints Anglican Church, prior to the unveiling of the new sign, Canon Dr Steve A West said it was up to every individual in this country to take responsibility for ensuring peace.
    The spectacle of young men lying by the side of the road, riddled with bullets, must end, West said, as he recalled the death of Kayode Thomas.

    “He was going about his business,” West said.
    The fact that soldiers are being murdered in this country is a call for all to recognise they must become ambassadors for peace, West said.

    In a brief address, Pastor Clive Dottin said PFC Wilson embodied a role model in a time when young black men were dying.

    The impact that someone like PFC Wilson might have had on others of his age can now only be imagined, Dottin said.

  3. Whatever reason lead him to join the US army and to end up fighting and losing his life in the war on Iraq, that should never have happened, does not make him a hero of Trinidad and Tobago. That war was not even sanctioned by the biased UN. It was a war based on lies from the leaders of the US and the UK…. a war that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. In a more just world, George Bush and Tony Blair, among others, would have been held and tried as war criminals. Choosing to fight in such a war is not heroic. Would we honour those who choose to go and fight in Syria to defend the government there? I doubt that.

    Iraq study estimates war-related deaths at 461,000

    1. To: Watchman

      I will keep it brief by saying that even if the war was “based on lies” to quote your statement, he enlisted to serve for world peace. If know anything about the military, then you should know that you don’t get to choose which war you serve in. PFC Le Ron A. Wilson, stepped up when he was called to duty.

      1. I do not accept what you and others are saying. Most people do not join the US Army for “world peace” which the US government is certainly not about. Be that as it may, he had a choice about joining and going to fight. If one is not forced to fight then one has a right to study what one is getting into and make informed choices. That war was about enriching a few US corporations at the expense of the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. There was enough information around to explain this and history to guide us.

  4. He is a hero, which is more than one can say for those who cowardly hide in the dark under assumed pseudonyms to snipe at him. He joined an army and distinguished himself honorably.

    I hear the same dismissive remarks being made about heroes like Kwame Toure and others who joined another army, one involved in a peaceful non violent war to tear down the emplacements of racial prejudice in the US, and they always come from those who hide in shadows and like parasites, step out when the battle is over in order to enjoy the spoils.

    Caribbeans do not line up before the Syrian embassy for visas. So the analogy sucks. Soldiers do not choose the war the armies in which they serve fight in. So it is stupid and idiotic to attach fault to his service and his bravery because of the politics that might have been involved in the initiation of the Iraq war. But of course, like I referenced heretofore, the nattering nabobs of insipidity will always seek to tear down that which they envy.

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