William D. Vile
Staff Sergeant, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 299-09
DoD Announces Change in Status of Soldier
The Department of Defense today announced the death of a soldier while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
On May 5, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner positively identified human remains recovered in Afghanistan to be those of a soldier who had been previously listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN).
Staff Sergeant William D. Vile, 27, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, died of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using direct fire May 1, 2009, near the village of Nishagam, in Konar Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas.
For more information media may contact the Fort Riley public affairs office at (785) 240-0469; after hours (785) 210-8867.
For questions concerning the status change,
please contact Shari Lawrence, Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the U.S.
Army Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Virginia, at (703) 325-8856
or (703) 946-0791 (cell).
The status of a soldier who had been listed as missing has been changed to killed in action, the Defense Department announced Tuesday night.
Army Staff Sergeant William D. Vile, 27, of Philadelphia, was killed on May 1, 2009, near the village of Nishagam in eastern Afghanistan when insurgents attacked Afghan and international forces with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade strikes, officials said.
Sergeant James. D. Pirtle, 24, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Specialist Ryan C. King, 22, of Dallas, Georgia, were also killed in the attack.
The Army initially listed Vile as “Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown,” a designation used when the unit’s commander believes a servicemember has been killed but cannot positively identify or locate the body, according to the Defense Department’s directive on casualty notifications.
Earlier on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan said the Army was in the process of identifying what it believed to be Vile’s remains pending a DNA analysis.
“There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that they were in fact his remains,” said Army Major Jennifer Willis.
She said she expected to know the results of DNA testing on the remains within 24 hours.
Army casualty officers delivered a “believed to be” notification to Vile’s family over the weekend, said Shari Lawrence, of Army Human Resources Command.
While officially the Army could not say that Vile was killed, the somewhat unusual step allowed family members to travel to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for the return of the remains.
“Obviously, we do everything we can to keep the family up to date,” she said. “We want to help them as much as possible.”
Vile was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kansas. Pirtle and King were assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in Fort Hood, Texas.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Vile attended Lincoln High School from 1995 to 1999 and is a graduate of the “Warrior Leader Course” with the 10th Mountain Division.
Pirtle’s mother, Patricia, was told about her son’s death by an Army Chaplain last Friday, The Gazette in Colorado Springs reported.
The Gazette reported that Pirtle was a 2006 graduate of the Globe Charter School and enlisted in the Army immediately after he graduated despite his mother’s concerns. His mother told The Gazette that he was patriotic and he advanced through the ranks rapidly. Friends described him as a joker who always had a smile on his face and tried to get them to enlist as well.
Wednesday May 20, 2009
William Vile, killed in Afghanistan
Heather Jackson was used to friends trying to fix her up with dates. It was getting a bit trying, so when one more came along in the summer of '06, she was more annoyed than pleased.
Then she met Bill Vile.
"Bill was something else," she said. All of the other prospective boyfriends faded away. He was the one for her.
"I never met anybody who was so honest," she said. "He never put on a mask. He was never anyone but himself. Bill was larger than life."
They became engaged and planned a February 13 wedding. But Bill, an Army Staff Sergeant, was killed in Afghanistan on May 1, 2009.
It was his second tour of duty in Afghanistan after two tours in Iraq. He had two Purple Hearts for wounds in combat in both countries.
William D. Vile, a native Philadelphian, was a dedicated Army man. He enlisted in 1998, at age 18, after attending Lincoln High School.
His last assignment was as a military transition-team member with the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. He had taken special training at Fort Riley, Kansas, for the assignment.
When offered the job, he told the brass, "I have to call my girlfriend first."
Heather said that when he talked with her, he was so excited about the assignment, "he sounded like a little kid at Christmas."
"I have one more in me," he told her.
She could hardly object in the face of such enthusiasm, even though it meant one more combat tour for a soldier who already had had more than his share of fighting.
He was among a group of soldiers near the Afghan village of Nishagam, near the Konar Province, when they came under fire from insurgents. He was killed along with Sergeant James D. Pirtle, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Specialist Ryan C. King, of Dallas, Georgia.
On his first tour in Iraq, Bill was a gunner on a Humvee that was struck and turned over by a roadside bomb. He told Heather, "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. He was a mortarman and he had to return the fire.
"I need something to stop the bleeding," he told them. "I have work to do here."
When the battle ended, somebody looked at his bleeding arm and said, "Get that man a chair!"
"He was infantry," Heather said. "That was a big part of who he was."
He is survived by his mother, Donna. His father, also Bill, died last June.
An Army casket team carries the remains of Army Staff Sergeant William D. Vile, Thursday,
May 21, 2009, during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery
VILE, WILLIAM DAVID
Posted: 23 May 2009 Updated: 28 June 2009