STERLING, VA, US
SPC, CO C, 3RD BN, 21ST INF REGT, 1 SBCT, FORT WAINWRIGHT, AK
08/28/2011, SPERWAN GHAR, AFGHANISTAN
People recalled lots and lots of positive things about Douglas Jay Green. According to his aunt, Stacy Dinkel, “Doug was one of the nicest human beings on the face of the Earth. He was an amazing person.” Specialist Green had a reputation for caring about his high school, its students, teachers and the community that surrounded it. And Specialist Green cared about his country. Shortly after graduating from Potomac Falls High School in Sterling, he enlisted in the Army.
When her son was in a foxhole getting shot at, Suni Erlanger said, Douglas would be cracking jokes “saying something from ‘Forrest Gump'” because he wanted to put his fellow soldiers at ease. “He was one of those kids. Everybody loved him. He was quick to laugh, quick to smile. He was a comedian. When everybody was scared, he’d make a joke. He made everybody feel good.”
Dakota Taylor, who was Specialist Green’s team leader in Iraq, said Green was an amazing soldier. “He didn’t care about himself. He always wanted to help somebody out.” And “he had a dog in Iraq named Jake that he took care of.”
While stationed in Alaska between his two combat deployments “he chose to be a big brother to a little boy in Fairbanks. That’s the kind of person he was,” his mother added.
Douglas was planning to ask his girlfriend, Alicia Swanstrom, to marry him, his mother explained. He had written Swanstrom a letter two weeks before he was killed with instructions to play certain songs at his wake “in case anything happens,” said Mrs. Erlanger, who read from the letter.
The letter offers some “words of wisdom” to “always put yourself in a position to have contact” with others and to “never judge or put anger on somebody too quickly. That person is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
“Just listen and interpret what you will,” Specialist Green wrote, adding that he wanted his wake to be about celebration.