04 Sep

Private First Class Matthew E. Wildes, Age 18, Youngest Soldier to Die Under President Obama

He was killed in Afghanistan of wounds the military says he suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

“He was a sweet kid,” his mother Mary Wildes said. “He didn’t like me saying that, but he was a kid. I treated him like a baby. But he was my baby.”

Mary Wildes last spoke with her son the day before his death. They chatted on Myspace instant messenger, and Wildes told him she loved him but she didn’t want to waste his allotted 30 minutes on the computer.

Matthew Wildes joined the Army in April 2008. It was a decision his parents tried to sway him from, but he was determined. He took his GED in order to enter the Army as soon as possible, his mother said.

Halfway through basic training, Matthew Wildes was sent home with stress fractures in his legs. He spent his month of recovery anxious to get back and disappointed he wouldn’t be graduating with the soldiers he started with.

He carried that loyalty to the battlefield, Mary Wildes said.

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