Robert E. Drawl, Jr.
Specialist, United States Army
RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 798-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2006
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death ofthree soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died in Kunar, Afghanistan, on August 19, 2006, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their convoy vehicle.
Sergeant Wakkuna A. Jackson, 21, of Jacksonville, Florida. Jackson was assigned to the 710th Combat Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.
Specialsit Robert E. Drawl Jr., 21, of Alexandria, Virginiaa. Drawl was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.
Specialist Christopher F. Sitton, 21, of Montrose, Colorado. Sitton was assigned to the 710th Combat Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.
Media with questions about these soldiers can
contact the 10th Mountain Divisionpublic affairs office at (315) 772-7634.
Specialist Robert E. Drawl Jr., 21, joined the Army to support his wife and two children.
He often talked about how difficult it was to be away from Katherine, his high school sweetheart, and their daughters, Kaylee, 3, and Samantha, 19 months.
Drawl, of Alexandria, was killed August 19, 2006, in Kunar, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy vehicle. Sergeant Wakkuna A. Jackson, 21, of Jacksonville, Florida, and Specialist Christopher F. Sitton, 21, of Montrose, Colorado, also were killed in the explosion.
Yesterday, friends and family gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to honor Drawl. He was the 40th person killed in Operation Enduring Freedom to be buried there.
Patriot Guard Riders -- motorcyclists who sometimes attend military funerals -- joined the motorcade to grave site No. 8,415. As a bugler played taps, mourners bowed their heads in respect.
On Sunday afternoon, scores of family and friends came to Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home in Alexandria to share stories of a young man whose life was just beginning.
Drawl's mother, Yvette Wilson, remembered attending his boot camp graduation last year at Fort Benning, Georgia. She snapped the blue arm cord that identified him as an infantryman onto his uniform.
"It was such a proud moment," she recalled Sunday.
Drawl also is survived by his sister, Jacqualine, and father, Robert Drawl Sr.
Drawl was deployed to Afghanistan in March 2005. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, based in Fort Drum, New York. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service.
Wilson described her son as just a "regular kid" growing up in Alexandria.
Lea Holloway, a cousin, said she remembered catching tadpoles with Drawl in the creek behind her grandfather's house and walking to the store to buy cookies.
Family members said Drawl loved the carnival rides at Ocean City. He wore a rattail long after the hairstyle went out of fashion, and friends found his allegiance to the Pittsburgh Steelers baffling and constantly teased him about it.
But childhood friend Steven Escobar recalled those quirks fondly. The two spent hours playing spades and PlayStation. Escobar's nickname was "Mouze" -- because of his size -- and Drawl's was "Blue Boi" because he loved the color.
"Blue T-shirts, blue hats all the time," Escobar recalled Sunday. "He drove a black Honda Civic, but he wished it was blue."
Drawl's car also was an expression of his personality, family members said. His license plates read "Klwnluv" -- in honor of his favorite band, Insane Clown Posse.
After graduating from T.C. Williams High School in 2003, Drawl worked at a Blockbuster store for a few years. He was a movie buff -- a fan of horror flicks in particular -- and loved the free rentals that came with his job.
Elsie Ryals, who worked with Drawl at the store, remembered him as respectful and fun-loving. He made a point to visit his co-workers when he was home on leave in July, she said.
Drawl returned to Afghanistan last month, and his tour was set to conclude in 18 months. But Drawl's father-in-law, David Chapman, told mourners at a church service yesterday morning that Drawl had recently discussed reenlisting. He was looking into audio-visual work for the military, Chapman said during the eulogy.
"Robert, you were just really getting started
in life," Chapman read aloud from a letter to his son-in-law. "Your life
ended before it had a chance to begin."
Photo Courtesy of Holly, October 2006