Monday, January 31, 2011

William M. Sigua, Army, Sergeant -- Rest In Peace

William M. Sigua, 21

Army, Sergeant
Based: Ft. Bragg, N.C.
1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: January 31, 2007
Baiji, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Los Altos Hills
High School: Los Altos High (Los Altos)

On Jan. 31, Sgt. William M. Sigua, 21, was killed when his unit was attacked with small-arms fire in Bayji, Iraq, north of Baghdad. Piecing together fleeting details from his comrades, his family said it appears that he was manning a Humvee's gun turret when he was shot.

Fellow soldiers remembered the young paratrooper as someone who "had the ability to place everyone at ease with a word," Capt. Tim Peterman, company commander, wrote in an e-mail to Sigua's family. "In combat, Will always distinguished himself by displaying a level head and laid-back demeanor uncommon for someone his age."

Back home, friends and family recalled a guy who could be comic or compassionate depending on the situation, a workout fanatic who planned to go back to school to study kinesiology after his Army hitch ended later this year. "Will just had this ability to walk into a room and light it up," said Jennifer Herrera, a longtime friend.

His older brother, David, said Will was popular in high school and always had girlfriends, but never mocked or bullied teens with less social standing. "It didn't matter if someone wasn't one of the cool kids," his brother said. "Will treated everyone nicely."

In Iraq, Sigua found time to correspond with a fifth-grade class back home. Letters to friends and family related his hopes and disappointments. They also displayed his steadfast whimsy in the face of adversity.

"Christmas is here and it really doesn't seem like it," he wrote Herrera. "I walked outside and everyone had a Grinch-like attitude and that didn't help.... Later today we coordinated with the dog handlers to let us put on the bite suit and try to run away from his attack dog. That should make it seem more like Christmas."

His father, who had grown up in the Philippines, always held military service in high esteem. Will's grandfather had been imprisoned in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II, and two other relatives survived the Bataan Death March, his brother said.

At a recent memorial service, 850 people jammed a hotel ballroom. The town mayor paid his respects, and the Fire Department bagpipe team played a dirge. Cousins talked of undying respect. Old friends spoke of his fun-loving nature and empathy and wisdom.

"Will was proud to be there," Herrera said of his time in Iraq. "That's what got a lot of us through these last few weeks. He wanted to be there."
Do read the entire LA Times article about Army Sergeant William M. Sigua here. Read more at Military Times and find more here and here. Visit Sergeant Sigua's Guest Book and find his picture on Soldier Wall.

No comments: