BIRMINGHAM, AL, USA U.S. Army PV2, HHC 2D BATTALION, 69TH ARMOR, FORT BENNING, GA 31905 BAGHDAD, IRAQ 04/06/2003
On the day he was to leave for Kuwait, Kelley Prewitt shared a “last supper” with his mom, Jean, and two Army friends at a Red Lobster restaurant.
Jean Prewitt recalls how the young men reveled in the idea of serving their country. “He and his friend Tim were wearing their desert camouflage so that everyone knew they were being deployed to the desert,” she recently told NEWSWEEK.
“People in the restaurant were coming up saying how proud they were–and how they would be praying for them. The boys were eating it up.” After the meal, the group headed back to the barracks to collect their belongings, then on to the place from which Prewitt was to depart. At one point, Prewitt’s friend snapped a photo just as his mom leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. “[Kelley] was embarrassed, saying, ‘Mom, don’t get lipstick on me’,” Jean Prewitt recalls. “I will cherish that picture for the rest of my life.”
On April 6, Prewitt was killed by enemy fire in Iraq. The youngest child and only son of Jean and Steve Prewitt, Kelley looked just like his father, his mom says. He enjoyed riding a Jet Ski at a lake near his father’s mobile home and was an avid soccer player in high school. But until he enlisted in the Army two years ago, he had been uncertain about what direction he wanted his life to take. The military had helped him to grow. “[It] made him a man,” says his mom. When he left for Iraq, “He was ready to go and do something for his country,” she says. “He was proud of himself and all he wanted to do was make us proud.”
In Prewitt’s last letter to his father, he wrote that he hoped it wouldn’t be too long before he’d be back in Alabama. “I just know that Kelley would really hope–and I do, too–that in the future, history will tell us that his death and the death of these other soldiers is not in vain,” says Steve Prewitt. He said he hoped “The Iraqi people … will understand that our way of life and law and order and freedom is the way to live on this earth.”