William L Meredith
Virginia Beach, Virginia
September 21, 2009
Killed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
|Soldier from Virginia Beach is killed in Afghanistan
Sep 24, 2009
By Jaedda Armstrong
Pfc. William "Lee" Meredith wanted to find a purpose in life when he stopped attending Ocean Lakes High School.
He worked at fast-food restaurants, a grocery store, and finally, after talking with friends and family members, he decided to join the Army.
When he returned to Virginia Beach from basic training last year, the usually shy Meredith had changed.
"It was the first time I saw him stand up straight and look someone in the eye," said Sandra Mahoney, the mother of Meredith's best friend, Chris. Meredith lived with her in Ocean Lakes for about five years before leaving for the military.
At Fort Carson, Colo., Meredith had become a combat engineer, deploying to Iraq in February and to Afghanistan in April. The 4th Engineer Battalion specializes in clearing bombs from heavily traveled highways the Army uses to haul supplies.
On Oct. 1, he was planning to come home on leave.
Meredith died Monday in Kandahar from wounds he suffered when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device, according to the Defense Department. He was one of two service members killed Monday, a day when NATO forces called off any offensive operations in honor of the United Nations' International Day of Peace.
"He was a great guy," said Chris Mahoney, his best friend of 10 years. "He never hated anybody. He tried to get along with everybody."
Meredith loved to play video games, visit Ocean Breeze Waterpark and hang out with his friends, Chris Mahoney said.
Meredith celebrated his 26th birthday earlier this month, Sandra Mahoney said, and was planning on proposing to his longtime girlfriend.
Although he had been in the Army only a year and a half, he had earned 10 awards, among them the Bronze Star.
His body was flown to the United States on Wednesday.
"He was glad he was doing something with his life instead of sitting around here," Chris Mahoney said. "He took life day by day - just trying to get by."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
|Soldier’s enlistment surprised father
The Associated Press
Master Sgt. Lloyd Lee Meredith was a bit surprised when his son, William “Lee” Meredith, called to say he had joined the military.
“Lee is the kindest, gentlest soul I have ever met in my life,” the elder Meredith said. “He never had a hard word for anybody. Would never fight anybody. He was not a fighter. He was very passive.”
It was even more surprising that Lee had chosen a combat specialty. Sandy Mahoney, the mother of Lee Meredith’s best friend Chris, said the timid boy had blossomed after the Army.
“I never saw him stand so tall and proud as in his uniform,” Mahoney said.
Meredith, 26, of Virginia Beach, Va., was killed Sept. 21 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, after enemy forces attacked the vehicle in which he was riding. He was assigned to Fort Carson, Colo.
Mahoney fondly remembered all the times her son spent with Meredith, including the time Meredith lived with her and her son. Chris Mahoney had a bunk bed, and the two would argue over who would get the top bunk.
Now, Meredith was a guy who loved music and playing video games, and had hoped to propose soon to his longtime girlfriend.
“He took life day by day just trying to get by,” Chris Mahoney said of his friend.
|Fort Carson engineer killed in Afghanistan blast
By: TOM ROEDER Sep 23, 2009
A Fort Carson soldier died Monday in Afghanistan when his convoy was bombed, the Pentagon announced today.
Pfc. William L. Meredith, 26, of Virginia Beach, Va., was on the road near Kandahar, Afghanistan, when his vehicle was hit by the roadside explosive. He was assigned to Fort Carson’s 4th Engineer Battalion, which was sent to Iraq earlier this year then transferred to Afghanistan where its soldiers work to detect and remove roadside bombs – the favored weapon of insurgents in both conflicts.
Meredith joined the Army last year and trained to be a combat engineer before he was sent to Fort Carson. He deployed with the unit in April.
In his short Army career, Meredith earned some of the service’s highest honors including the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Action Badge, awarded for facing the enemy in combat.
Friends told The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., that Meredith had dropped out of high school and struggled in fast-food jobs before he joined the Army. The military turned the young man around, the newspaper said.
“It was the first time I saw him stand up straight and look someone in the eye,” friend Sandra Mahoney told the newspaper.
Solders in the 4th Engineer Battalion are the only ones in the Army to battle in Iraq and Afghanistan on the same deployment. Equipped with special vehicles that have robotic arms to grasp explosives, the services of the engineers are in high demand.
The unit specializes in clearing bombs from heavily traveled highways the Army uses to haul supplies. The soldier's skills are needed in Kandahar, where soldiers and Marines are locked in an offensive against Taliban militants.
A spike in bombings in Afghanistan in recent months has taken a toll on American troops. August was the deadliest month in the eight-year-old war in Afghanistan. September could be worse.
Meredith is the sixth Fort Carson soldier killed this month, including five who have died in increasingly intense fighting in Afghanistan.
The post has lost 270 soldiers in fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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