SOUTHPORT, NC, USA U.S. Army SSG KISHKISHKIA, IRAQ 03/11/2008
Laurent wanted to follow in his Dad’s footsteps. His father, retired Lieutenant Colonel Larry West, wanted to be a good soldier, and so did his son. Laurent did quite well in JROTC and stayed out of trouble. His parents liked that. His dad wanted him to go to college after high school, but he wanted to join the Army instead. So he enlisted in the Chemical Corps of the Army in 1993 and was reclassified as a cavalry scout in 1998. With almost 15 years in the service, he had earned the admiration and respect of enlisted men and officers alike. They were honored to have served with him, but also to have known and learned from him.
Laurent J. West was from Raleigh, North Carolina and was the loving husband of Michelle and stepfather of Nistasha and Madison. They’re so proud of him and that he was in their lives. He was an avid runner and rock climber and his dad was his rock climbing buddy. He was the younger and faster one and showed up his dad from time to time, but dad thought it was okay. What can you expect from the son who tagged behind him everywhere he was assigned, and was trained well, the right way, on how to advance up the ranks in the military and in life? His other buddies were his fellow soldiers, with whom he shared a strong bond. It was one of the reasons he loved being an American Soldier.
He was someone you’d be proud to have raised as a son. A man who was very humble in his demeanor, which is something that couldn’t be said about many men. He could be counted on to get the job done, and done right. His calm, resolute leadership always produced effective results. He was always willing to pass his knowledge on to his soldiers, and was a genuine man who cared about them. He led by example, and from the front and always gave his honest opinion when asked for advice. He was highly respected for all these things.
We will always miss Staff Sergeant Laurent Jerome West for the man he was and for what he lived and died to preserve. Among West’s many awards and decorations were the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two silver oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal with three loops, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Action Badge and the Parachutist’s Badge.
He is a great American Hero and will never be forgotten. Thank you for all you have done for us, your family and the country we all love.