Fallen Nebraska Soldier Was Also Firefighter


Updated: 05-29-2007 01:40:39 PM

JASON KUIPER
Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)

A 29-year-old Bellevue soldier and firefighter was killed Saturday in Iraq in an explosion.

Spc. William Lee Bailey III, died in an attack with an improvised explosive device, said Dave Szymanski, a spokesman for the Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department.

Three others were injured in the IED attack, but no other information was available about them or where it happened.

Bailey was with the Nebraska National Guard's 755th Chemical Company based in O'Neill, Neb.

He had been in Iraq since November and was due to return home in three weeks for a twoweek leave, Szymanski said.

Bailey and his wife have a blended family of five children, three of whom live with them in Bellevue, said Jack Syphers, a spokesman for the Fire Department. He worked as a medical helicopter dispatcher in the metro area.

Bailey was part of a group providing security for convoys in Iraq. His unit, like many others, had been retrained to perform security missions, said Maj. Gen. Roger Lempke, commander of the Nebraska National Guard.

Chemical companies are typically involved in entering areas that may have been chemically infected and performing detection and evacuation in those areas, Lempke said.

Bailey had been a volunteer firefighter for Bellevue for five years.

"He just loved his family and worked hard for them," said Paul Prewitt, a member of the Fire Department and a friend of Bailey's. "He had a lot of integrity and was a real stand-up guy. He would go out of his way for his friends. He will be missed."

Firefighters will meet today at 2 p.m. to reminisce about Bailey at the District 1 station, 211 W. 22nd Ave.

Bailey is the 56th person from Nebraska and western Iowa or with ties to the area to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Spc. William Lee Bailey III -