COURTESY VIA KITV
Air Force Senior Airman William Newman, shown here with wife Soyong, became Hickam's second loss in Iraq when he died of wounds he received from a homemade bomb. CLICK FOR LARGE
Airman killed in Iraq will forever be a 'hero'
Air Force Senior Airman William Newman had hoped to be back in the islands by the end of this month to celebrate his second wedding anniversary in August and take a promotion exam.
His widow, Soyong Newman, had bought new clothes for her husband, whom everyone called "Willie," and had planned a special trip to Maui to celebrate their anniversary
Instead, Willie Newman, 23, will be remembered this morning at a special Hickam Air Force Base service, with a funeral with full military honors planned for June 23 in his hometown of Kingston, Tenn.
On June 7, Newman became Hickam's second loss in Iraq when he died of wounds he received from a homemade bomb. His family said he was stationed near Balad with Hickam's Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team of the 15th Civil Engineer Squadron.
Soyong Newman said her husband was passionate about break dancing, sketching and reading and was considering a career in medicine. A sketch of his wife is proudly displayed in the couple's Hickam townhouse.
But above all, "he was a very faithful man and a good Christian," she told reporters yesterday.
The two had met at a church picnic three years ago near Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where Newman was attending ordnance school and where Soyong's father is stationed.
"I think I had to ask him out on a first date because he was so shy," she said.
Newman was assigned to Hickam in May 2005 and Soyong joined him two months later. The two were wed on Aug. 2, 2005.
Newman was supposed to deploy to Iraq on Jan. 4, but was told on Dec. 29 that his unit was being sent out that same evening.
His widow said the two had talked about his dangerous career.
"I wanted him to do something less dangerous, like intel (intelligence) or computers," she said, but he wanted to continue working in the ordnance field.
Master Sgt. Michael Lester, Soyong Newman's father, said the family has been told the details surrounding his son-in-law's death, but knows that he volunteered to be an ordnance specialist because "he wanted to make the area (in Iraq) safe for children."
Soyong Newman said she plans to return to Florida to be with her family and close friends.
"I will need some time to heal," she said, adding that her husband will "always be my hero in my heart."
Hickam's first loss was Airman 1st Class Carl Jerome Ware Jr., killed July 1 last year at Camp Bucca in Iraq. Another Hickam-based airman, Kyle Dalton, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for shooting Ware in the chest. �He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in April.