DULUTH, GA, USA U.S. Marines SSGT, CLB-13, 13TH MEU, II MEF(FWD), [PARENT COMMAND: CLR-17, 1ST MLG] SAQLAWIYAH, IRAQ 06/20/2007
A Marine bomb technician with deep ties to the cowboy culture of the Northern California town where he spent his teenage years died in Iraq doing the work he loved, his family said.
Staff Sergeant Stephen J. Wilson, 28, was killed in a blast June 20 along with a fellow Marine as they scouted for explosives in Iraq’s Anbar province, according to his mother and the Department of Defense.
Wilson was only 17 when he enlisted in the Marines after graduating from high school, which meant his mother, Bonnie Lou Schreiner, had to sign for him to serve.
Wilson rode bulls and raised pigs in the Future Farmers of America program after moving to Brentwood in 1992, said his mother, who lives in Hidden Valley Lake in Lake County. He also played hockey and soccer.
After joining the Marines in 1997, he was stationed in Japan, Finland and the Ivory Coast before volunteering for Iraq. He was on his third tour when he was killed.
Throughout his youth, Marine Staff Sergeant Stephen J. Wilson was heavily involved in sports and some of his athletic doggedness served him well in the Marines.
“What was so great about Stephen was that he played every game like an all-star, but he never bragged or boasted about his skills,” said his father, John. “He would get out there and play, if he had one leg to play on, or two legs.”
He served in Japan and guarded American embassies in Finland and the Ivory Coast. He then trained as a bomb technician and was on his third tour in Iraq.
In the last e-mail Scott Wilson received from his brother, he said Stephen was unusually sentimental, ending by thanking him for “being a good little brother.”
“We never heard that from him in the 28 years of his life,” his brother said.
Wilson grew up in suburban Atlanta before moving to Brentwood, and was assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 13 out of Camp Pendleton in San Diego County. He is survived by his mother; his father, John C. Wilson of Tualatin, Ore.; two brothers; and a grandmother.