LYONS, Ga. (WSAV) – A Toombs County native was killed in Niger on Wednesday in an ambush by suspected Islamic militants operating from Mali.
Staff Sergeant Dustin M. Wright, 29, was one of the three U.S. Army Green Beret soldiers killed in the line of duty.
Ssgt. Wright, SSgt. Black and SSgt. Johnson were part of a joint U.S. and Nigerian train, advise and assist mission.
The soldiers were assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, says the Department of Defense.
According to Southeast Georgia Today, SSgt. Wright’s father, Ardie Wright, his brother, Will Wright, and maternal grandmother, Elaine Trull, were visited by an Army casualty notification team Wednesday night.
Ardie Wright, Will Wright and Terri Criscio, SSgt. Wright’s mother, departed Thursday morning to meet their son and brother’s body at Dover Air Force Base in Maryland.
After graduating as a Bulldog from Toombs County High School in 2007, SSgt. Wright soon joined the Army.
“I’m sure that’s why he had to grow up to be so big because his body couldn’t hold the heart he had,” his Aunt Ginger Russell said.
His cousin, Denise Collins, told Southeast Georgia Today that “He took great pride in being able to serve his country. I told someone today that Dustin knew exactly what could happen one day when he signed up and he was ready for it.”
SSgt. Wright’s aunt, Ginger Russell says the Lyons community is coming together to honor his life.
“He’s our own personal American hero. And he died for our country,” his cousin Jada Davis told WSAV.
Russell says a florist has donated ribbon for the family to place around the city. “We are going to paint this town red, white and blue so that when his body comes here from Dover Air Force Base, that he will have the homecoming celebration he deserves.”
On Friday afternoon, two local florists had run out of ribbon. The family is asking for help in making more red, white and blue ribbons to hang up around Lyons and Vidalia.
A Facebook memorial page has also been set up to honor the life of SSgt. Wright. Visit the page here: http://bit.ly/2xZTkuG or use #heromichaeldustin