|From The Tacoma News Tribune thenewstribune.com
Memorial: Stryker soldier upbeat, had a way with words
STEVE MAYNARD; Staff writer
Spc. Kyle J. Wright was remembered Friday as a giving and courageous person who cracked jokes, pulled pranks and used a listening ear to support soldiers fighting beside him in Afghanistan.
“We, his brothers, knew a fearless man that was always in the thick of the action and had a generous, giving spirit,” Lt. Col. Jeff French, Wright’s battalion commander, said at a memorial service at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Wright, 22, died Jan. 13 at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan from wounds suffered the day before when his Stryker vehicle drove over an improvised bomb. Wright, who was from suburban Chicago, served with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and was a third-generation soldier.
Capt. Jacob Saunders, Wright’s platoon leader with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, said Wright’s optimistic attitude turned “even the worst situation into a positive experience.”
Saunders recalled how Wright, his driver, would sneak energy drinks into Saunders’ assault pack or leave a packet of Pop-Tarts hanging in his vehicle hatch.
Wright would walk by and say, “‘Whoa, whatcha got there, sir?’ with that gigantic ‘Kyle’ smile of his,” Saunders said. “After particularly difficult days, he’d often be the first to sit quietly beside me, and after a long, awkward silence he’d gesture and inquire, ‘So … you wanna hug it out?’”
“Yeah man, I do,” Saunders told the crowd of about 400 people at the Lewis-McChord North Chapel.
Wright was buried Feb. 2 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. A community center in his hometown of Romeoville, Ill., will be dedicated in his name Monday.
Wright is one of two Lewis-McChord soldiers reported killed in Afghanistan this year and among 32 killed since August. Most of those soldiers were with the same Stryker brigade as Wright. All but one has been killed in explosions.
Wright enlisted in the Army on Sept. 1, 2006, and reported to Fort Lewis in January 2007.
Wright’s two sisters, Kelly Wright and Krystal Greene, attended Friday’s memorial service, as did Wright’s brother-in-law, Sgt. Zachary Greene. Greene, who works as 5th Brigade supply sergeant, escorted Wright’s body home from Afghanistan.
Wright’s parents, Richard and Lynn Wright, were not at Friday’s service. Richard Wright was a combat medic with the 82nd Airborne Division.
Besides his surviving family members, Wright had a serious girlfriend he met in Tacoma. Among his interests was skateboarding. He earned a contract to compete semi-professionally before joining the Army.
The tributes to the goodness of Wright ended Friday with the somber repeating of his name during the last roll call.
After the third time his name was read, the silence was broken by the sounds of family members weeping in the front row.
After the service, Saunders said he and Wright had become close while serving together for two years. Saunders was in the Stryker vehicle when Wright was mortally wounded.
Saunders said Wright was a good person who loved his family.
“I know I will never recover from it; neither will they, fully,” Saunders said. “But we drive on just the same.”
|From abc News / U.S. abcnews.com
Army Spc. Kyle J. Wright
Kyle J. Wright's choice to join the military, following the path of his father and grandfather, had roots in Sept. 11.
"He decided when he was sitting in a classroom watching the Twin Towers fall," Richard Wright said of his son, whom he called "a hell of a standup kid."
Kyle Wright went on to be a member of the Marine Corps JROTC program at Romeoville High School in his hometown of Romeoville, Ill., before graduating in 2006.
"He was just an unbelievable guy, wildly popular among the band of brothers that he served with," the elder Wright said.
The 22-year-old died Jan. 13 at Kandahar Air Field of wounds from a roadside bombing earlier that day. He was assigned to Fort Lewis, where he fell in love with a girl who stole his heart.
He "was the toughest, smartest, bravest man, and I don't just say that because he's my son," Richard Wright said.
Kyle Wright was on his first deployment in Afghanistan, where he was interested in improving the treatment of women and used his fluency in Arabic to explain the culture to fellow soldiers, his father said.
Survivors include his mother, stepmother and several siblings.
|From WGN & Chicago Tribune chicagobreakingnews.com
Soldier from Romeoville killed in Afghanistan
January 14, 2010 8:01 PM | 10 Comments | UPDATED STORY
Army Spc. Kyle Wright, from southwest suburban Romeoville, typically served as infantry or used his Arabic fluency to explain a new world to his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan.
But the 22-year-old took on a new assignment just before Christmas, said his father, Richard. The 2006 Romeoville High School graduate got behind the wheel of an armored vehicle and drove 10 other soldiers on missions to secure the main highways of southern Afghanistan in the Taliban heartland.
They were returning from a mission Wednesday when Kyle Wright drove over a 250-pound improvised explosive device that went off right under the driver's seat, his father said. Wright was dead by the time soldiers pulled him from the wreckage, Richard Wright said. The Army could not confirm the story or Wright's death.
Richard Wright said his son had "a sense of honor that is not even of this generation any more. He was just an unbelievable guy, wildly popular among the band of brothers that he served with."
Wright was deployed in July on a 12-month tour, his first. He was in love with his girlfriend, whom he met while stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., his father said.
Wright joined the Army after high school, where he was in the Marine Corps JROTC program, Assistant Principal Lindy Steeves said.
"He was ... really good at things that he was passionate about," said Steeves, who has a wall full of student pictures in her office, including one of Wright in fatigues.
Flags were at half-staff Thursday at buildings throughout Valley View Community Unit School District 365U, which includes Romeoville High School, and at Romeoville Village Hall. Wright's father delivers food to the district's 21 schools, and Wright's stepmother is a secretary at a district elementary school.