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For his 17th birthday, Le Ron Wilson of Springfield Gardens did not want a radio or a car, like many teens. Instead, he asked his mother to sign his Army enlistment papers.
He left for boot camp the day after his 2006 graduation from Thomas Edison High School in Jamaica Estates.
“That’s what he truly wanted,” his devastated mother, Simona Francis, said in published reports.
On Friday, July 6, Wilson, whose rank was a Private First Class, was killed, along with another soldier, in Baghdad, Iraq when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off nearby to where their unit was patrolling, according to the Department of Defense.
Wilson - who is a member of the 26th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division of Fort Stewart, GA - was the 20th soldier from Queens to be killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“I’m proud of him, of everything he did,” Francis said.
A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Wilson immigrated to New York at the age of 11 to live with his mother. According to the Trinidad and Tobago Express newspaper, Wilson wanted to be like his father, Lawrence Wilson, a Cadet Force Major in his homeland.
Lawrence Wilson told the newspaper that his son deployed on May 7 for Iraq - Lawrence’s birthday.
“Le Ron was always a little soldier. He reached the age to make his own decisions so I could not talk him out of it,” the dad said to the paper.

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