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CSM Wilson, Jerry L. is buried at Savannah Valley Memorial Gardens, Thomas, McDuffie County, GA.
Command Sergeant Major Jerry Lee Wilson of Harrison Road, Thomson, entered into rest Sunday, November 23, 2003 in Mosul, Iraq. CSM Wilson was a McDuffie County native and a 1976 graduate of Thomson High School. He was a member of the Springfield Baptist Church where he had participated in Sunday School, Baptist Training Union, the Youth Choir, Vacation Bible School, Courtesy Guild and other ministries and activities. He entered the United States Army in June of 1976 and was presently serving as the 2nd Brigade, 502nd Infantry Regiment Command Sergeant Major at both Fort Campbell, Ky. and as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Mosul, Iraq. He received numerous awards and decorations.
He attended Basic Training at Fort Jackson, SC, and completed his Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Ga., as an infantryman.
His first assignment was Fort Ord, Cal., where he served as an M60 Gunner and later as a 90mm Recoilless Rifleman with B Company, 6th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. He was then reassigned to Fort Wainwright, Alaska, in 1978 as a Scout Observer with E Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment (MANCHU) and held the positions of Senior Scout Observer and Assistant Squad Leader.
In 1980, He was assigned to Fort Benning, Ga., with B Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment as a Team Leader and later as a Squad and Section Leader. His next assignment was Dahlonega, Ga., where he served as a Drill Sergeant Instructor. In late 1983, he volunteered for Drill Sergeant with D Company, 4th Battalion, 2nd Infantry Training Brigade. In 1986 he was reassigned to Fort Kobbe, Panama. He served as a Platoon Sergeant with C Company, 2nd Battalion, 187th Infantry (Airborne); C Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry (Airborne); and as the Battalion S3 Operations Sergeant with the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry (Airborne).
In 1989, he was assigned to Fort Benning, Ga. for the third time as a Senior Ranger Instructor with the 4th Ranger Training Brigade. In 1990 he volunteered for ROTC duty at Central State University in Dayton, Ohio, where he served as the chief instructor. He was then reassigned, once again to Fort Wainwright, AK where he served as the First Sergeant for A Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment (MANCHU), and as the Brigade S3 Operations Sergeant Major of the 1st Brigade, 6th Infantry Division (Light).
Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson's next assignment was to the Sergeants Major Academy. After the Academy, he served his third tour in Alaska as the Battalion Command Sergeant Major of 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Following this assignment, he served as the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment Battalion Command Sergeant Major at the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky. His last assignment was the 2nd Brigade, 502nd Infantry Regiment Command Sergeant Major at both Fort Campbell, Ky., and as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Mosul, Iraq.
Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson is a graduate of the Primary Noncommissioned Officers Course, the Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course, the Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Course, the Operations and Intelligence Course, the First Sergeants Course and the United States Sergeant Major Academy Class 47.
His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Commendation Medal (with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Achievement Medal, the Ranger Tab, the Combat Assault Badge, the Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, Royal Thai Army Jump Wings, Panamanian Jump Wings and Brazilian Jump Wings.
Additionally, Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson is an Audie Murphy Club inductee and is a recipient of the Order of Saint Maurice given by the National Infantryman's Association.
Survivors include his mother, Daisy Wilson, Thomson; devoted sister, Susan Milton, Thomson; two caring sons, Mantrell (Ni Sharn) Wilson, Augusta, Sidney Wilson, Thomson; a granddaughter, JeKiya Jackson Wilson, Jonesboro; two aunts, Hattie Harris and Georgia Mae Wilson of Thomson; one uncle, Roy Lee Wilson, Newark, N.J.; and a host of cousins, other relatives and friends. Family, friends and soldiers remembered Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry L. Wilson on Dec. 3 as a mentor with a dominating presence. At least 500 people crowded into the Springfield Baptist Church in Thomson for Wilson’s funeral. At least 100 of those in attendance were uniformed soldiers. Wilson, 45, and another soldier — Spc. Rel A. Ravago IV, 21, of Glendale, Calif. — were killed Nov. 23 when their vehicle was attacked in Mosul. Initial reports said the two were pelted with concrete blocks, but the Army has said there was no evidence the men were beaten after their vehicle was shot and crashed into a wall. Wilson is survived by two sons, a granddaughter, a sister and his mother. During the funeral people laughed, cried and shouted “Amen” after friends, family and fellow soldiers shared stories about Wilson.
At the front of the church, the coffin was draped with the American flag and surrounded by bouquets of red and white carnations and yellow daisies. Wilson’s son, Mantrell Wilson, read a poem about his dad. “Many have lost a friend, society has lost a good man. He was a wonderful father and also an irreplaceable friend,” he said.
Lai Ling Jew, a producer for NBC News who was embedded in Iraq with Wilson, said, “He was a great man, someone I see as a consummate gentleman with the physique of a gladiator.”
She and some soldiers said Wilson had a contagious smile and a gentleness like none other. Others remembered him as being a mentor. “If there’s somebody in the military better at being a coach and mentor than Command Sgt. Maj. Wilson, I haven’t met him,” said Sgt. 1st Class Julius Chambers. Wilson was Chambers’ platoon sergeant. “I will never forget that smile or his selflessness,” said Jew, crying.
Groups of people lined the road as the funeral procession passed, standing with their hands over their hearts or waving American flags. One person held up a sign that read: “American Soldier, American Hero.”