West Frankfort Soldier Killed in Combat
By: Arnold Wyrick
WEST FRANKFORT, IL --The dream of a young West Frankfort boy came true when Matthew Vosbein enlisted in the U.S. Army. It's a dream his mother, Anna Williams says her son held onto since he was 5-years old.
"I remember buying him an Air Force uniform and he wore it all the time. I could barely get him out of it to clean it. Then when he was 5, I bought him some camouflage pants and a shirt," says Williams.
Sergeant Matthew Vosbien, of the101st Airborne Division 502nd Infantry Regiment, was living out his dream fighting in Iraq on his second tour of duty, when a roadside bomb took his life.
"He didn't have to go, but when his unit was called back up for a second time, he didn't want to leave his troops over there without him. And he really liked helping the kids over there. He was building them swing sets, and playing all sorts of games with them when he wasn't on patrol. He loved those Iraqi kids, almost as much as he did his own two sons," Anna said.
Just three weeks shy of his return to the United States, he's still coming home. But not the way his family had planned.
"He's got two boys who worship him. When I was down in Louisiana a couple of weeks ago, his youngest kept saying to me that his daddy wasn't coming home. I had to keep reassuring him that he was. Now we've had to go through and explain everything, and tell them that their daddy isn't coming home. And all they were worried about is that their daddy had promised to do things with them when he returned. And now daddy wasn't going to be able to do that. And they wanted to know who was going to do those things with them now," Anna said wiping tears from her eyes.
The news of Sgt. Vosbein's death on the battlefield hit home heavily, with his own father.
"I found out the day before his death that he was coming home. Then the next day the Army shows up and gives me the bad news," says Tim Lingle.
"I'll always remember him for his dedication to this country. As my son, and the love that we shared. And the bond. It seems like our bond with one another became stronger after he joined the Army."
A bond that Matthew shared with his two sons. And one that will now have to be carried on by his surviving family members.
"He stated in his 'What If' letter in his things we just received from Iraq that he wanted us to let his boys know that he had done all the things in his life he had always wanted to do. And that's going to be my remembrance of him. Is to help his boys know the type of man he was," says Gene Williams Sgt. Vosbien's step-father.