LAWRENCEVILLE - A Marine with local ties died this week in Iraq.
According to a Department of Defense press release, Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Wilson, 28, of Duluth, died Wednesday while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province.
Wilson, who was an explosive ordnance disposal technician, was one of two Marines assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 13, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 1 Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton in California who died Wednesday.
According to Wilson's mother, Bonnie Schreiner, Wilson graduated from a California high school, but played soccer, ice hockey and baseball in Georgia.
He joined the Marines in August of 1997, signing up with several of his buddies. During his service, he spent time in Okinawa, Helsinki and the Ivory Coast, and he was participating in his third tour of duty in Iraq.
"He thought it was his duty to go," Schreiner said, adding that her son volunteered for his first tour in Iraq. "He thought what we were doing over there was the right thing. He was a true Marine."
Wilson, who played on a traveling soccer team in the area, often came on surprise visits, his mother remembered.
"He was a wonderful son. He was a well-liked person," she said. "I'm really going to miss him. I can't believe this happened. ... They always say the good die young."
Wilson is survived by his mother Bonnie Lou Schreiner of Hidden Valley Lake, Calif., his father John C. Wilson of Tualatin, Oregon, brothers James D. Wilson of Clearlake, Calif., and Scott A. Wilson of Aloha, Oregon, two nephews Aidan and Dylan Wilson, his maternal grandmother Virginia M. Schreiner, aunts, uncles and cousins from New York.
A funeral will be held in Brentwood, Calif., next week.