20-year-old Miss. soldier killed in Afghanistan

Published 12:59 pm Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Army Pfc. William Brandon Dawson’s younger brothers looked up to him as a man with the characteristics of a good soldier.

“He never talked back to his mother or father. He was always respectful,” Joseph Dawson said of his older brother. “He was a perfect man.”

William Dawson, 20, from Tunica, and Pfc. Jaysine P.S. Petree, 19, of Yigo, Guam, were killed Friday between Ghanzi and Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, the Department of Defense said.

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Their military vehicle was attacked with an improvised explosive device, the military said Monday. They were assigned to the 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, U.S. Army, Alaska, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Quita Weeden-Dawson of Walls said she talked to her son the day before he was killed.

“Ever since he was a little boy he wanted to be in the military. I was hoping that he came back home. I’m thankful he went on to glory instead of coming back home messed up,” Weeden-Dawson said.

Weeden-Dawson traveled to Dover, Del., for the return of her son’s body. She was back in Walls on Monday and she said it could be days before his body arrives in Mississippi. Funeral information was pending, but relatives said he would be buried in a family plot in Tunica.

Dawson was a motor transport operator who joined the Army in September 2009. He was assigned to Fort Richardson in February 2010, the military said.

He was the eldest of his mother’s four sons. Joseph Dawson, 18, said the family last saw his older brother about four months ago when he was on leave from Alaska. He said William Dawson stayed in touch with the family after he arrived in Afghanistan.

“He called a lot and we talked on Facebook every day. He never talked about what was going on down there. He just talked about what he wanted to do when he came back here,” Joseph Dawson said.

The Rev. Willie Dawson, 40, associate pastor at Adams Chapel in Clarksdale, said his soldier son was ambitious and had talked about a career in politics.

“He told me he wanted to be a senator. He could do so many different things,” Willie Dawson said. “He made a career choice, and he had all the support of his family. He wanted to drive trucks and he wanted to serve his country.”

Dawson’s death came four days after another Mississippi resident, Joshua Ose, 19, a private first class, was killed while on foot patrol in Afghanistan. The Marine Corps said Ose was struck by small arms fire in the southern Helmand Province on Sept. 20.

William Dawson, a 2009 graduate of Rosa Fort High School in Tunica, left an impression on Principal Derrick Dace, who described him as a positive young man.

“As his grandfather got older, I used to always see him driving him around. He was very respectful. He’s just one of those students, every time you see him, he lifts your spirits,” Dace said.