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Tonight we honor a soldier from Florida who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Since 2001, 2302 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan; since 2003, 4488 U.S. troops have lost their lives while serving in Iraq.

I Got The News Today (IGTNT), which is the oldest continuous series on Daily Kos, provides members of this community a venue to pay their respects to those who have died as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The IGTNT title is a reminder that nearly every day the family of an active duty service member receives the terrible news that their beloved has died.

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                                                                                       ~ Photo Credit Timroff

The Department of Defense has announced the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sgt. First Class William K. Lacey, 38, of Laurel, FL, died Jan. 4, 2014, in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when the enemy attacked his unit with rocket propelled grenades.

Lacey was assigned to 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Knox, KY.

Sgt. First Class Lacey's death marks the first combat loss of 2014 for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

Please join me tonight for a remembrance of his life.


Sgt. First Class William K. Lacey

Sgt. First Class William Lacey was completing his fifth deployment, scheduled to return to his family in twelve days, when he was killed by an RPG on Saturday.

He worked as a wheeled vehicle mechanic. After joining the Army in 2003 at age 27, SFC Lacey served three tours in Iraq and was completing his second in Afghanistan when he was killed.

His stepmother, Karla Lacey, of Laurel Hill, FL, said:

"The worst thing you can possibly see when you have a child in a war zone is gentlemen walking up in uniform. It’s devastating.”
SFC Lacey was born at Eglin Air Force Base and raised in Niceville, FL. He is a graduate of Niceville High School. His older brother served in the Army and his father is retired from the Air Force. His goal, which he accomplished several months ago, was to achieve the same rank as his father.

His father, John, said of his son:

“He was brave beyond brave. He was out there in the middle of nowhere, in hell, and he kept doing it over and over and over ... I’m just so proud of him.”
SFC Lacey also served as a paratrooper with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

He met his wife Ashley while they were both serving in the Army. His stepmother Karla described him as,"...a wonderful son, a wonderful father, a wonderful husband and a wonderful brother.” He was devoted to his wife and daughter. The last time he was at home was Christmas.



William and Ashley Lacey with their daughter Lily (FB photo)

Family friend Gerald Roberson said,  “He was a very dedicated soldier.” He described SFC Lacey as "one of the nicest, kindest people he had ever met."

SFC Lacey has earned multiple awards and decorations, including a Bronze Star, and was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.

Fort Knox and 3rd Brigade/1st Infantry Division will hold Duke Remembrance ceremonies here and in Afghanistan in Lacey's honor. He will be buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Laurel Hill, FL.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has ordered that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on the day of SFC Lacey's interment.

Besides his father and stepmother, Lacey is survived by his mother, Pam Joiner, of Live Oak, FL; two older brothers; three younger stepbrothers; and his wife Ashley Lacey, their four-year-old daughter Lily, and three older stepdaughters, Caiden, Trinity and Brandy-Lynn Fahl in Fort Knox, KY.

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Rest in peace, Sgt. First Class William K. Lacey. You have served with honor.

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"I Got the News Today" is a diary series intended to honor, respect, and remind us of the sacrifice of our US troops. Click here to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by Sandy on Signal, noweasels, blue jersey mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, SpamNunn, TrueBlueMajority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, maggiejean, JaxDem, Joy of Fishes and me, Ekaterin.

These diaries are heartbreaking to write, but are an important service to those who have died, and show our community’s respect for them. Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories.

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Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members mentioned here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.
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