2 Soldiers From Virginia Die in Iraq Within Days
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
A Fairfax County father of five was killed in Iraq last week when the Humvee he was in crashed, becoming one of the highest-ranking casualties in the war so far, Army officials said yesterday.
Lt. Col. Thomas A. Wren, 44, of Lorton died Saturday in Tallil, southeast of Baghdad, when a civilian vehicle pulled in front of the Humvee, causing it to roll down an embankment. Wren, the recipient of a Bronze Star for service in Bosnia, was one of only 12 lieutenant colonels killed in Iraq.
Wren was the second Virginia soldier reported killed there in two days.
Staff Sgt. Jason A. Fegler, 24, of Virginia Beach died Friday in Baghdad during combat under circumstances that are being investigated as a potential friendly-fire incident. Fegler, a member of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., grew up in Harrisburg, Neb., and was the father of a 2-year-old boy.
Family members said Wren had recently met the love of his life, Holly Wren, whom he married July 4, two months after their son, Tyler, was born.
"Everyone says they just don't remember either of them being so happy," said Holly's mother, Audrey Thomasson of White Stone, Va. "She keeps saying he had such a wonderful, big heart."
"They never even lived together," Thomasson said, adding that her daughter was asleep in the next room with one of her husband's shirts. "She has not spent one married day with him."
Wren also had four children from a previous marriage.
A longtime reservist who had also seen combat in Afghanistan, Wren was on his third tour of duty and had recently been promoted to a job that involved training Iraqi military rather than combat missions, said his younger brother, Tim Puckett of Tampa.
"We really weren't that worried this time," he said.
Wren came from a family of veterans. His father served in Vietnam, and his grandfather was in World War II and the Korean War. His own interest in the Army dated to when he was a boy in elementary school, Puckett said.
"He was GI Joe from the word go," he said. "For Halloween, he was GI Joe. For Christmas. Any time he could dress up, he would."