Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Dustin D Laird

Martin, Tennessee

August 2, 2006

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
23 Army Sgt

Army National Guard 913th Engineer Company, 46th Engineer Battalion

Union City, Tennessee

 Killed during combat operations in Rawah, Iraq.

Martin soldier dies in Iraq

The Associated Press

MARTIN - A Tennessee National Guard member from Martin was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb, his family said Wednesday.

Spc. Dustin Laird, 24, was killed Tuesday when an improvised explosive device detonated under the vehicle he was driving, the family said in a story in the Union City Daily Messenger. His father, Billy Laird, of Martin, was told of the death Wednesday.

The soldier deployed to Iraq in September with his unit, the 913th Engineer Company based in Union City.
While on leave in May, Laird returned to his high school alma mater, Westview High School in Martin, to see his brother Derek's graduation.

During his leave, he also visited fourth-grade students at Ridgemont Elementary School in Obion County. The students in Caroline Coleman's class had been writing him letters while he served in Iraq.

He stopped by the classroom for a surprise visit and answered questions about everything from disassembling bombs to how to take a shower in the desert.

During his visit, Laird told the students that the worst part of the war was missing home.

Laird explained the meaning of the flag patch that he wore on his right shoulder.

"The flag is representative of how the United States is constantly moving forward and never in a state of retreat," Laird said. "I feel proud to be a part of that."

Besides his father and brother, Laird is survived by his mother, Linda Laird; a sister, Heather Hale; and another brother, Billy Jr.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Originally published August 3, 2006

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