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Army Sgt. Wesley R. Durbin

Died September 14, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

26, of Hurst, Texas; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died Sept. 14 in Jurf as Suhkr, Iraq, of wounds sustained in a non-hostile incident. Also killed was Staff Sgt. Darris J. Dawson.

Marine-turned-soldier ‘could make anyone smile’

The Associated Press

After serving in Iraq as a Marine, Sgt. Wesley R. Durbin was going to resume his college education, possibly as an English major. But something brought him back to the military.

“He decided he was a soldier all around, so he went back into the Army,” said his wife, Brandi Durbin. “He wanted to take his expertise and give it where it needed to be given.”

Durbin, 26, of Hurst, Texas, was one of two soldiers killed Sept. 14 in Tunnis when a fellow soldier opened fire on the men. He was assigned to Fort Stewart.

“Everybody loved Wes the minute they met him,” his wife said. “Anybody who met him — cashiers at the grocery stores, they loved him. He could make anybody smile.”

Fellow soldiers jokingly called him “Jarhead” — slang for a Marine — but Durbin would pay attention to the mood of soldiers around him and offer to help anyone who seemed troubled.

“He would say, ‘Sergeant, you’re looking kind of down today, do you want to talk?”’ said Staff Sgt. Michael Navarro. “That’s one thing I will always miss. I’m a private person. But just the thought of him coming by and saying ‘Do you want to talk?’ meant a lot to me.”

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