While a family and a town are in mourning, steps are underway are to honor the loss of a National Guardsman who was killed while serving his country in Iraq.
Sgt. David B. "Blake" Williams of Tarboro, who was serving a second tour of duty in Iraq with the North Carolina Army National Guard, was killed Saturday near Baghdad from wounds received when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.
Williams, 26, was with the 1132nd Military Police Company.
The 2000 Tarboro High School graduate who participated in marching band, wrestling and baseball, was honored at Municipal Stadium prior to the Tarboro Classic Easter Baseball Tournament championship game Monday night with yellow ribbons and a devotion. Williams was a pitcher on the 2000 THS baseball team that won the hometown tournament.
On Tuesday, the Friends of the Edgecombe County Veterans Museum group gathered to discuss what steps may be taken to pay respect to the area's first soldier killed in Iraq.
Museum members expressed interest in assembling a display in tribute to Williams comprised of battle dress uniform, boots and head gear. Army National Guard Public Affairs officer Capt. Christopher Joyner briefed the gathering on issuance of the soldier's personal belongings to the immediate family.
Although Carol Banks, the museum's curator, said it would be ideal to move quickly on the matter, she was also aware of the situation's sensitive nature.
Banks plans to "make a request" to Williams' family members for artifacts, including medals and decorations, but understands "that it is so personal to them."
Joyner stated that Williams will be decorated posthumously with Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals. The awards are for heroic or meritorious service and combat heroism.
Williams previously had been awarded the Combat Action Badge and the Army Commendation Medal. He earned a second Army Commendation Medal in January for his role as a driver in his latest deployment.
The Veterans Memorial flag will fly at half-mast during the day of Williams' funeral, next Wednesday. Museum board member Joel Bourne said that Town of Tarboro officials will discuss the flying of municipal building flags at half-mast to honor Williams.
The possibility of hanging commemorative yellow ribbons on utility poles or in front of private business also is being taken into consideration.
Williams is survived by his mother Susan Leggett Williams, 60, and sister Mary Beth Williams, 24, both of Tarboro.
He joined the N.C. Army National Guard in July 2003.
Two fellow Guardsmen, Sgt. Thomas C. Ray, II, 40, of Weaverville, N.C. and Spc. David S. Stelmat, 27, of Littleton, N.H., and two language interpreters also were killed in the bombing.