STOCKTON, CA, USA U.S. Army SPC, HHC, 1ST BATTALION, 26TH INFANTRY, SCHWEINFURT, GERMANY SAMARRA, IRAQ 07/08/2004
A 19-year-old Army infantryman from Stockton was killed Thursday in a mortar attack in Iraq, family members said Friday.
Army Specialist William River Emanuel IV enlisted when he was 17 and had been in Iraq since February. He said he did not want to come home, because he was having an adventure and because his work there was not done, said his aunt, Jean Shipley.
His mother, Jane Emanuel, replayed a message Friday he had left on her voicemail: He said he was sending her money, that he was doing fine, that he loved his family, and then he said goodbye.
“We’re not supposed to bury our kids,” she cried. “Oh God, I can’t do this.”
The slain soldier’s sister, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Tiffany Emanuel, 21, said she had volunteered to join her younger brother in Iraq but did so too late to be considered. She was scared and worried for him, she said.
“It’s just not safe over there,” she said.
Tiffany Emanuel said that when her brother found out he might be deployed, he told her not to tell their mother, because he did not want to worry her. For the same reason, when he called home, he did not talk much about the conflict in Iraq, his mother said.
“He was always worried about me,” she said. “He was the man of the house.”
William Emanuel mowed neighbors’ lawns and chopped a woman’s firewood, the women recalled. He played baseball with his relatives and beat them each Christmas Eve at the family’s pancake-eating contest: 16 last year, smothered in peanut butter and syrup, Shipley said.
William Emanuel was assigned to the 26th Infantry Division, 1st Battalion, stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany, his sister said. She said her brother believed in the occupation of Iraq and was proud to be there.
Shipley said her nephew always gave her something to hold, such as the keys to his truck, when he went skydiving or on other adventures. But he was certain he would return from Iraq, she said.
“He didn’t give me anything to hold this time,” she said.
William Emanuel enlisted in 2002 after graduating from the San Joaquin County alternative education one.Enterprise school, his sister said. While in high school, he worked for a landscaping company and ran it for several months when his boss was injured. He also bused tables at the Graduate Restaurant & Bar and worked at a nickel arcade, his mother and sister said.
His grandmother, Jean Travale, said Emanuel wrote a letter saying he wanted to come to her Reno home to view landscape work that had been finished there. He also wanted to bring his girlfriend, she said. She said she responded to his letter last week, but she was not sure whether it had arrived in Iraq before he was killed.