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Army Staff Sgt. William D. Vile

Died May 1, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

27, of Philadelphia; assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using direct fire May 1 near the village of Nishagam, Konar province, Afghanistan. Also killed were Sgt. James D. Pirtle and Spc. Ryan C. King.

Army identifies remains of Riley soldier

By Gina Cavallaro

Staff writer

The remains of a Pennsylvania soldier previously listed by the Army as “duty status whereabouts unknown” have been positively identified by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, the Defense Department announced Tuesday in a press release.

Staff Sgt. William D. Vile, 27, of Philadelphia, who was assigned to a military transition team in Afghanistan, died of wounds suffered in an attack May 1 when insurgents attacked his unit using direct fire and rocket-propelled grenades, officials said.

The attack took place in the village of Nishagam, Konar province.

Sgt. James D. Pirtle, 21, of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Spc. Ryan C. King, 22, of Dallas, Ga. — both were assigned to Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, of Fort Hood, Texas — also died in the attack.

Vile was assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, from Fort Riley, Kan.

Soldiers and service members from other branches of the military are trained at Fort Riley in a 60-day course to advise, teach, mentor and coach their counterparts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fiancée says Vile always was honest

The Associated Press

On his first tour in Iraq, William D. Vile was a gunner on a Humvee that was struck and turned over by a roadside bomb.

He told his fiancée, Heather Jackson, “I popped right back up,” but the Army thought his wound deserved a Purple Heart.

Then during his first tour in Afghanistan, he was watching as a helicopter landed with troops. As soon as it landed, the surrounding hills “lit up with enemy fire,” he told her.

He ran to get his flak vest out of his tent and took a bullet in the arm. He pretty much fought off the medics trying to attend to him.

“I need something to stop the bleeding,” he told them. “I have work to do here.”

Vile, 27, of Philadelphia died May 1 when insurgents attacked his unit in Konar province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Fort Riley, Kan., and was on his fourth tour of duty.

“I never met anybody who was so honest,” Jackson said. “He never put on a mask. He was never anyone but himself. Bill was larger than life.”

He enlisted in 1998 after graduating high school. He had two Purple Hearts for wounds in combat in both countries.

He also is survived by his mother, Donna.

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