Saturday, September 20, 2003

Man from Delhi dies during attack in Iraq

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] James C. Wright with his wife, Alina. He died Thursday in a raid in Iraq.
(Family photo)
DELHI TWP. - James Christopher Wright wanted to make everyone who knew him proud.

Now, the whole country is.

Wright, 27, a member of the 4th Army Infantry from Fort Hood, Texas died Thursday in a raid in Iraq. The raid happened while his unit was patrolling near the Tigris River and tried to secure an area with hostile conditions to the east, his relatives said they were told by military personnel Friday morning.

"He always wanted to be known for what he did and I guess he's done it this time," his brother, Edward "Eddie" Wright II, 29, of Delhi Township, said Friday, tears streaming down his cheeks as he held a photo of his brother.

"He wanted people to know he could make a difference. He showed a lot of interest in going overseas. That is what he was trained for.

"The only downside was after he found out he was going to be a parent," Eddie Wright said. "He wanted to come home. But I guess he made a difference, because if he hadn't been there it would have been someone else's life."

The Army specialist was driving in an armed Humvee that was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, family member said. Two other U.S. soldiers died in the attack and two others were severely injured.

The 1994 Oak Hills High School graduate leaves behind his parents, Edward and Barbara Wright, both 53, and another brother, Mark Wright, 21, all of Delhi Township.

James "Jimmy" Wright's wife, Alina Wright, 25, is due to give birth to their first child, a son already named Jamison Edward, on Christmas Day.

Alina Wright, 25, also is in the Army at Fort Hood. James Wright learned about three weeks after he was deployed to Iraq on April 1 that he would be a father - but he already had suspected it and encouraged his wife to take a pregnancy test, she recalled late Friday in a tearful phone interview.

"I am very, very, very proud of him," she said. "I am going to tell our baby what a great dad he was and how good of a man he was."

Military life was familiar to James Wright, whose father served in food service in the Army for 20 years and who served two tours in Vietnam. The family lived "all over - we were real Army brats," recalled his brother.

His parents were too distraught over their middle son's death Friday to comment, he said. An Army sergeant and a captain based at the University of Cincinnati delivered the news to them at 7 a.m. Friday, he said.

He ran over to his parents' house next door as soon as his wife's mother, who lives up the street, called him after seeing them on his parents' front steps.

"I went right over," he said. "Naturally, I knew what it was. ... My mother was hysterical, irate. She's not really saying anything right now, but I know my parents are very proud of my brother."

James Wright entered the Marines in 1996, serving four years on a tour that took him to Bosnia, Greece and Italy, Eddie Wright said. He met his wife while they both were stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. - where she also was in the Marines at the time. He was assigned to be her escort around base for security reasons, she recalled Friday.

"After both finished four-year tours in the Marines in 2000, they briefly lived in Delhi Township until April 2001, when they moved to Waco, Tex., where James Wright worked as a landscape equipment operator.

But after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, both were prompted to re-enter the military and joined the U.S. Army.

"He told me it was time for him to put the uniform back on. He couldn't sit back and not do anything," his wife said.

A trust fund in memory of James Christopher Wright has been established at Fifth Third Bank. Proceeds will go to help his wife, Alina Wright, 25, pay expenses. The couple's unborn child, already named Jamison Edward, is due on Christmas Day.


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