Updated: 04-13-2004 11:03:13 AM

Shelby, Michigan Firefighter Wounded In Iraq

The Macomb Daily

Courtesy of The Macomb Daily

A 31-year-old Shelby Township firefighter/paramedic has been wounded while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

"I'm OK," William Fox Jr. wrote in an e-mail to friends, township employees and officials. "But I got shot in the arm."

Fox's injury is not life-threatening and he expects to return to duty "in a couple of weeks or so," his e-mail read. He is expected to receive a Purple Heart.

Fox, along with township police officer William Wylie Jr., were called to active duty last December. Both are reservists with F Company 425th Infantry (Airborne).

Fox said he was wounded when his convoy was ambushed while on its way back from helping other members of the unit who also had been ambushed in a separate incident.

"We went through the area that was getting hit, and there were burning vehicles everywhere, and craters in the road," Fox wrote. "We got through OK and made it to our guys, but on the way back we got ambushed."

Fox said rocket-propelled grenades were fired at his convoy, but they missed. While exchanging fire with the enemy, Fox said, "I felt something move a little. I don't know how to describe it because it happened so fast."

Fox was struck by fragments from a bullet that had penetrated the wall of a Humvee in which he was riding. His injury restricted use of his left arm, "so I was firing back with just my right hand," he said.

Fox said the largest fragment struck his left bicep, while smaller pieces struck elsewhere on his arm. Fox also said he was the first casualty in his unit.

"That (Fox' account of the ambush) just kind of sent chills up my spine," said Tom Means, Shelby Township fire marshal.

According to township personnel records, Fox came to work for the Shelby Township Fire Department in February 2002. He was married shortly before he reported for active duty.

"Fortunately, he is expected to recover fully," Supervisor Ralph Maccarone wrote in an e-mail to township employees. "Unfortunately, he is expected to be put back in harm's way after he recovers."