William Kyle Middleton
Corporal, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 1086-10
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died November 22, 2010, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Staff Setegeant Sean M. Flannery, 29, of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania
Specialist William K. Middleton, 26, of Norfolk, Virginia
For more information the media may contact
the Fort Campbell Public Affairs Office at 270-798-3025.
Specialist William Middleton, 26, studied communication at ODU, then joined the Army in 2009. An infantryman who went by his middle name, Kyle, Middleton had been in Afghanistan about six months.
He graduated from L.C Bird High School in Chesterfield County in 2002, brother Zach Middleton said.
The Department of Defense said Middleton died Monday in Kandahar province of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.
“He joined the Army because he liked being part of a team — he loved camaraderie,” said his mother, Marlene Blackburn, of Richmond. “And he wanted colorful stories to tell his grandchildren.”
Blackburn said her son was an accomplished soccer player. As a boy he traveled all over for tournaments, including to Holland when he was 12. During his junior year at ODU, he studied abroad and played soccer in England.
“After soccer, I think he missed being part of a team,” Blackburn said. “He decided the Army was what he wanted, and he’s the kind of person who always follows through. So he did it.”
After college, he stayed in the Norfolk area for a few years, and when he joined the military came back to Richmond, Zach Middleton said.
Middleton was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After serving as a radio operator he became a grenade launcher. His family was nervous about his deployment, but Middleton didn’t show any sign of nervousness, his brother said.
“He wanted to get in there and see some action. He knew what he was doing,” said Zach Middleton, noting his brother joined the military because he believed it was meaningful.
She said she last spoke to her son Saturday. "He said he’d just gotten the package I sent," Blackburn said. "He sounded good -- happy."
Middleton’s body is scheduled to arrive at Dover Air Force in Dover, Delaware.
Posted: 17 January 2011 Updated: 22 March 2011
Photos By Eileen Horan, February 2011
Photos By Eileen Horan, January 2011