A week before he died

A week before he died, Lance Cpl. Michael B. Wafford sent a letter to his mother with good news about his experience in Iraq. “He said that the people over there were very proud (that) Americans were helping, and that the media only shows the bad things,” family neighbor Cindy Willis said. Wafford, 20, was killed by hostile fire on April 8 in Iraq’s Anbar province. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He enlisted when he was a high school senior in Spring, Texas, and died during his second deployment to Iraq. His family last saw him when he came home for Thanksgiving, Willis said. “He always wanted to be a soldier,” she said. “He was a nice kid and very intelligent.”

— Associated Press