PINSON, AL, USA U.S. Army SPC, COMPANY B, 172ND SUPPORT BATTALION, SCHWEINFURT, GERMANY AD DIWANIYAH, IRAQ 08/19/2009
Army Specialist William Z. VanOsdol, 23, of Pinson, Alabama, died on August 19, 2009 in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy rocket fire struck his quarters. He was assigned to the 172nd Support Battalion, Schweinfurt, Germany (attached to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment at Forward Operating Base Echo).
Better known as Will, VanOsdol loved just about anything to do with art. Especially drawing.
Shane Kiep, of Hunstville, Ala., wrote in an online message board that VanOsdol “was always funny, one of the best artists I’ve ever personally met.”
A classmate, Kat Delawder, wrote in an online message board that VanOsdol will forever be remembered by me as that zany guy who always knew exactly what to say in any situation.
The art enthusiast enjoyed listening to rock music and watching movies. He also loved reading and had an eye for the fantasy tales he read in English class at Pinson Valley High School. “He just lit up on those stories and got very animated in the conversations that we had,” said assistant principal Karen Mardis. “He was a big fan of Beowulf and Lord of the Rings. That struck a chord with him.”
On August 29, 2009 in Pinson Valley, Ala., hundreds lined the streets to honor Will as the motorcade carrying his casket passed by on the way to the grave site. He was the third Alabama servicemember to die in Iraq in 2009.
Will was preceded in death by his father, William Kent VanOsdol; grandfather, Leland C. VanOsdol; grandfather, Henry Ervin Murphree; grandmother, Arlene Dirks Finch; and great-uncle, Neil Dirks. William is survived by his loving mother, Susan Murphree VanOsdol, of Pinson; and sisters, Brandi VanOsdol Kennedy (James) of Trafford, and Sabrina VanOsdol Mierholtz (Tony) of Montgomery.