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Mom questions Marine's death in California military hospital
Iraq veteran - The body of a Camas man is coming home while an investigation continues

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Marine Sgt. William C. Wold didn't die in Iraq but Iraq still killed him, said his mother.

The 23-year-old Camas, Wash., man was found dead Friday morning in his room at a military medical facility near San Diego, where he was undergoing treatment and evaluation for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Officials at the public affairs office at Camp Pendleton, where Wold was stationed, would say only that an investigation is under way.

"He called me Thursday morning, and asked, 'Mom, can I come home for Thanksgiving?' " said Sandra Wold, who lives with her husband, John, in Camas. " 'I don't care if we just order out for pizza.' He called his wife, Angela, that evening, and he sounded fine both times."

But the next night, she opened the front door to two green-uniformed Marine sergeants. "I knew immediately why they were there. I said, 'Oh my God. Not now.' I feared this every minute of every day that he was in Iraq, but not now."

The Marines told Wold that her son had been found dead on the floor of his room and that his death was being investigated.

"This is a stellar Marine," she said, "one of 94, who was stationed at Camp David where he guarded the president. He was qualified to wear the Presidential Service Badge."

William Wold enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17 after finishing high school a year early and graduated from boot camp Sept. 21, 2001. He then underwent the extensive security clearance and training required of the troops stationed at Camp David.

In 2004, Wold reverted to his military occupational specialty of infantryman and served in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Marine Division, which saw intense fighting in the Fallujah area. Sandra Wold said that her son was discharged from the Corps in June 2005 and that he was forever changed by what he saw and did.

"Iraq crippled him," Wold said. "I never saw him sleep; he couldn't go out in public; he couldn't handle crowds; he couldn't stand loud noises. I've never seen a horror movie that bad."

William Wold developed substance abuse problems, she said. "In February of this year, he came to me and said, 'Mom, I just can't handle this anymore. I'm going to re-enlist.' He was just going all the time, and nobody ever told him how to flip off the light switch."

Wold went back into the Marines as a sergeant and was sent to Camp Pendleton. Sandra Wold said that his last months were spent being shuttled among drug and PTSD rehabilitation programs and that he was being evaluated for a medical discharge at the time of his death.

Wold's body will be escorted from Portland International Airport to Vancouver today by the massed motorcycles of the Patriot Guard Riders. Wold's funeral service will be at noon Friday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 18200 N.E. 18th St., Vancouver. Burial with military honors will follow at Evergreen Memorial Gardens, 1101 N.E. 112th Ave., Vancouver.

Wold is survived by his parents, John and Sandra; his wife, Angela of Newberg; sisters Christi Lowden and Becki Wold; and brothers, Robert Wold and Thomas Nelson.

John Foyston: 503-221-8368;